The mission of Bridges of Hope is to build bridges of support, anchored in Christ’s love, between families in the Lakes area and the community assets that can help them thrive and gain hope. That sounds nice, but what does “anchored in Christ’s love” really mean? To the Board of Directors, when they were crafting this mission statement in 2003, it meant that the organization was founded in faith–that the reason we do what we do is to show Christ’s love to His people. As Bridges has grown and developed over the last ten years, we have realized that how we can best do that is through trying to be what God wants us to be in our local community.
Recently we gathered over 50 of our local church leaders and staff for our annual Faith Leader Luncheon. It was humbling to experience in person the amazing support we have from our area churches, which have played a key role in both the development and the ongoing successes of Bridges. It was a great time of fellowship, sharing about the work of Bridges of Hope, and of learning how we can be a better resource for churches. Churches make some of the most frequent referrals to Bridges of Hope, act as our largest non-grant source of financial support, comprise some of our most-frequent volunteer groups at Common Goods, and definitely serve as a vital source of prayer support. (Read more about how churches and Bridges of Hope can partner to serve our community.) It was a great reminder of how many are involved in making the work of Bridges of Hope possible!
This year, I have had the privilege of taking a lead role in our Strategic Priority of centering Bridges of Hope in Christ. There have been many new initiatives that have grown out of this Priority area, including a Staff and Board Retreat that took on the Priority as its theme. It was both nourishing and refreshing, and it also allowed us to connect on a deeper level with one other.
Staff & Board at the Retreat, in the Labyrinth
We have also started offering optional monthly devotional times for staff and have invited area pastors, church Board members, and others to spend some time leading us in various topics. We have enjoyed connecting with members of our local faith community this way, which is different from our “regular” interactions through our work at Bridges. The main focus of this Strategic Priority is to nurture our staff and Board in their own faith journeys so that they can better serve those who seek our services.
It is in a similar spirit of nurturing and supporting others that we are offering a community workshop this summer, called Healing the Heart of the Healer. It is a training focused on self-care for those of us in the helping profession. You can see a flyer about the training here.
I believe it is thanks to the organization’s work to center its Board and staff in Christ–this anchoring–that Bridges of Hope continues working to meet the needs of others in our community every day.