Director of Christian Formation
St. Paul's UMC, Coronado, CA
The Bridge is our LOGOS ministry at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Coronado, California. We decided to call our program The Bridge for several reasons. One of our biggest goals with The Bridge is to narrow or bridge the generational gaps that exist in our congregation. We wanted our youth to interact openly and easily with other members of our congregation despite their age. We also saw The Bridge as a way to reach our students mid-week. To be able to bridge their faith from a Sunday-only mindset to a faith-through-the-week mindset has been very valuable. It also has been a great way to lessen the gap between the church and the greater secular community as well. As a program, The Bridge has been well received and is building momentum throughout the community. Lastly, we have the iconic Coronado Bridge that has connected Coronado and San Diego since 1969. So, calling our program The Bridge really does suit our community.
The Bridge is a new ministry to St. Paul’s in 2018-19. We meet Wednesday nights from 5:15-7:15 and follow the LOGOS model, having recreation time, family time and a time for program/worship arts. Our volunteers consist of table parents, a kitchen crew, a chef, a recreation crew as well as our worship arts instructors and our bible study leads. There are a lot of adults, of all ages, pouring love and attention into our fifth through eighth grade students.
Through this volunteerism, relationships were built and connections made. One of the most surprising was the growth and relationship among the program leaders. Because it was a new program, there was a unique opportunity to work out the kinks together. It really provided ownership and ‘buy-in’ for our growing program. There were, of course, amazing relationships built between the kids and their table parents. You can see those relationships flourish on Sunday mornings as we watch the different ages in fellowship together. The kitchen crew, many whom did not know each other, also became quite close, creating friendships and sharing life challenges and moments together. Relationship building really has been the most rewarding aspect of The Bridge.
Our program was very successful; however, there are always shortfalls or variables we wish we could change. In the case of The Bridge, we compete with sports schedules as well as rigorous academic expectations. Additionally, the society that we live in is very consumeristic. With The Bridge, we are not selling a quick fix to anything. We are asking those involved to build relationships with each other and more importantly with God. For some students, as well as parents, this is not what they are seeking. We hope by continuing to offer this program and educate our youth and parents of our unwavering intentions, we will begin to shift their mindset and grow God’s Kingdom even stronger.
As we move forward with The Bridge, we are hopeful that the program will begin to strengthen and grow deep roots in our church as well as our community. We would like to see our program team expand and grow stronger as well as our group of volunteers. We are excited to host another LOGOS Encounter this fall to get more of our congregation involved and understanding the direction The Bridge is going. There were some areas that we were lacking volunteers such as decorating and set-up. But there is a buzz about The Bridge. Several congregants who were unable to help this year are already on board for next year. We also are shifting the age next year to be a strictly middle/high school program having the focus on grades 6-12. With this shift, we hope that relationships will have a chance to grow deeper.
St. Paul’s is committed to The Bridge and giving our young congregants the best faith formation and foundation that we can imagine.
Other GenOn Connect articles: May-June 2019