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Bridging the Gap

Today I am in Tennessee doing some consulting with the children’s workers of a church here. This church, like many churches, offers a great assortment of children’s programs. Unfortunately, these programs don’t speak to one another. All churches want to see the children and families reached by their soccer league or other outreach ministries connected to the worship and discipleship ministries of the church? So why doesn’t it happen?

Barb Wagenfuhr of First Pres Colorado Springs often talks about “mind the gap.” That is, there is a tendency for church programs to become compartmentalized, all doing their own thing. The result? A gap that prevents people from taking the next steps of faith and next steps of involvement.

Aware of that gap, the challenge becomes, how do we bridge it? Toward that end, here are 5 strategies for inviting people to cross the bridge and take the next steps of involvement in your church and in their spiritual lives.

  1. Program – As the program itself is designed, plans are included to incorporate sharing the Gospel, devotions, or encouraging someone to take the next step.
  2. Prayer – Ministry Head/Leaders bathe all efforts in prayer.
  3. Promotion – Targeted advertisements inviting people to the “next step” of church involvement.
  4. Personal Relationships – Life change happens best within the context of relationships.  Encourage leaders in the specific program or venue to build relationships and personally invite their friends, family, and neighbors to follow Christ.
  5. Party – Pursue opportunities to celebrate what God is doing. Festive environments have a primary goal of cementing memories from the ministry, as well as presenting the Gospel.

Interact: Where are the gaps in the ministries of your church? What are you doing to bridge the gap?

*Special thanks to Damon Cinaglia and Sherry Bitler who helped me develop this paradigm.