Archives For Pittsburgh

Favor: Post 5 (of 5)

January 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

image: Bob Croft

In March of 2010, we hosted a Prayer Walk(athon) in Pittsburgh (the above image is of most of the participants).  Rick (Lead Planter) designed a couple of these as significant fundraisers allowing The Bridge to have the ministry dollars needed to carry us through the year.  He would later share that he sincerely, genuinely sensed $30,000 would be raised for ministry purposes.  It was also a tremendous way to build interest and momentum for church planting in Pittsburgh.

The people who participated in the Pittsburgh Prayer Walk(athon) contributed in a big way.  But by the time all of the fundraising was calculated, less than $7,000 had come in.  This was enough to cover ministry during the summer and provide a number of opportunities to connect with the community.  But it wasn’t $30,000.  And we still had the biggest event of the summer to be cared for as well as making sure a facility could be rented for preview, launch, and post-launch gatherings.

But we were amazed as series of incredible points of supply came our way, some more breathtaking than others, while we ‘prayed in’ daily provision:

  • Other churches provided recreation/games at no cost to The Bridge for our Family Fun Day
  • Other churches supplied nearly all of the food (for over 400 people!) for Family Fun Day
  • Area businesses freely gave merchandise & giftcards to give away to Family Fun Day participants
  • Other churches have creatively raised funds to help cover portions of meeting-place rent
  • The Bridge received free use of new sound equipment from a recently-closed church
  • Another church supplied for many of The Bridge’s printing needs
  • Area businesses helped provide for an Autumn Trunk-or-Treat event
  • 3 Lakes Golf Course invited The Bridge to meet weekly in their facility at a very affordable rate

And do you know what all of this provision amounted to?

At latest tally, just about $30,000.

We know that the work we’re doing is much more about heart and life transformation than money; we know that financial provision is not a ‘goal’ but is a necessity.  For us, it’s just one more way we have seen God’s favor and answer to prayer; it’s one more evidence of being where God is working.  It makes me excited: if the Holy Spirit has been so faithful in bringing us to launch, what will he do as The Bridge continues to develop?!

This post is the last in a series of five celebrating God’s favor as we have moved toward the launch of The Bridge this Sunday.  Here are links to the earlier posts: One, Two, Three, Four.

Favor: Post 4 (of 5)

January 27, 2011 — Leave a comment


image courtesy of 3 Lakes Golf Course

For our pre-launch gatherings,we found the perfect place to meet.  It was the ‘dream location’ for any church plant: a community hotspot, modern facilities, plenty of room to grow, plenty of parking, an area for connection, rooms for children’s and nursery ministries. Perfect. We might never leave.

But as we looked at what the cost would be to stay in that facility following our Grand Opening when we moved from monthly to weekly gatherings, things looked impossible. We asked God to please provide what was an overwhelming amount for our perfect place to meet.

One day, the phone rang. On the other end was a representative from 3 Lakes Golf Course with an offer:
Rather than paying hundreds of dollars for a few hours on Sunday, what if we payed a quarter of the cost for an entire day at their club house? With a fully stocked nursery? And a dedicated children’s ministry area? And all the space we could need for a long while? With permission to use the marquis signs and put up semi-permanent banners?

Yes, that’s right. A ‘more-perfect’ place than ‘the perfect location’ didn’t need to be sought out; they called us. Once again, God moved in an unexpected way and we were reminded of his faithfulness and the great love he not only has for us, but for the people he has commissioned us to reach.

What impossibility are you facing? The answer of Heaven may be unexpected, but rest assured as you pursue the heart of God that he remains faithful.

This is part four of a series of post recounting God’s faithfulness as we prepare for the Grand Opening of The Bridge.  You can find part one herepart two here, and part three here.

Favor: Post 3 (of 5)

January 26, 2011 — Leave a comment


image courtesy of CRASH:candy/flickr

Either we sell the house, or Sarah gets a job.  We can’t move to Pittsburgh until then.”

Of course we couldn’t move ‘until then.’ It was the only way ends would possibly meet. It made practical sense, so we dedicated time to trying to sell or rent the house and hunt for work.

But after a couple months, neither the house sold or rented and my wife, Sarah, had yet to get a call for potential employment. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment, on my way to the ‘Burgh to look at potential apartments for us, when God clearly spoke to me that he had called us to Pittsburgh and we needed to be *IN* Pittsburgh.  I immediately called my wife from the car and said, “I think I’m going to find our new home today, and that we need to move as soon as possible; are you okay with me signing a lease even though you won’t have seen the place?”

Out of gracious faith in God and me as her husband, Sarah’s response was, basically, “Go for it.”

I did find a place, paid a deposit, and planned our move-in day.  We wouldn’t be able to sign a lease until we were both present, so we prayed with extra fervency that God would provide a job for Sarah.  And nothing changed.  Still, we knew it was time to be in Pittsburgh, so, in faith, Sarah and I met in Pittsburgh to sign a lease.  On her way into the City, Sarah got a call for an interview.  We moved into our Apartment and Sarah got a call for a second interview.  Ten days after quitting her job in Carlisle, she started at a new job with better benefits and more pay in Pittsburgh. And this at the height of the Great Recession.

I’m convinced the job wouldn’t have come if we hadn’t taken our leap of faith by moving.

There have been trying times, tests of faith, and incredibly difficult circumstances since then, but God has proven himself ever faithful and has continued to lavish his favor on us. It makes me wonder, what steps of faith are you being called to this week and need to trust that God’s provision will be found on the other side of your obedience?

This is part three of a series of post recounting God’s faithfulness as we prepare for the Grand Opening of The Bridge.  You can find part one here and part two here.

Favor: Post 2 (of 5)

January 25, 2011 — Leave a comment

This post is part of a series celebrating some of the incredible ways God has shown his favor in planting The Bridge.  You can read the first post here.

image: Sarah Gomez

“Family Fun Day” was the high-water mark of our summer ministry season in 2010.  If you read yesterday’s post, you saw some of the cool ways God made a way where there was no way in securing a location at the right time.

But one of the most exciting aspects of the day was seeing how churches from across our district partnered together to see incredible things take place.  Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote earlier about the day:

…during The Bridge’s summer outreach event, a free “Family Fun Day,” held at the end of August when ten of the District’s 28 churches helped provide over 100 volunteers, funding, food, and other supplies which made the day a great success.  The Bridge had 425 present at the event, providing open doors of opportunity to develop significant relationships with many in the community; had it not been for the deep partnership of these district churches, the day would not have been possible.

We may never fully know the impact of the selfless giving of people, time, and finances the churches of the WPA District lavished on Pittsburgh, but as the nature of this partnership grows, one thing is for sure: greater things are already here and will continue to be seen in the eternal difference being made in homes, families, and communities.

image: Sarah Gomez

Our partner churches were selfless: they gave financially, gifted material, brought supplies, and invested energy.  Their people prayed, provided, and participated in an unprecedented way.  Through this army of volunteers, hundreds of people were impacted in a way The Bridge could not have effected by herself.  God moved in hearts, individuals, and churches as an incredible expression of his favor on Pittsburgh!

Favor: Post 1 (of 5)

January 24, 2011 — 4 Comments

The Bridge is having a Grand Opening Celebration this weekend (it’s our ‘official launch’ for those of you who prefer church-planty lingo) and we are incredibly excited. It’s hard to believe the day will actually be here — especially when you stop to consider that a year ago neither the Coxes nor the Gomezes had yet become residents of Pittsburgh and our Launch Team could have been described as ‘embryonic’ at best! In preparation for and celebration of this weekend, I am making it a point to share some of the ways we have seen God’s favor in the adventure of launching The Bridge. So, I’ll be posting one example of this each day from now to Sunday. Here’s today’s:

The Park

Image: Timothy Cox

At the end of August, The Bridge was hosting a “Family Fun Day” as a way to connect with the community. More details about the day will be included in tomorrow’s post, but the biggest hurdle early on was securing a location to hold the event. The park we needed to use didn’t have any openings for the reserved areas; in fact, in the process of looking for open dates, we were told that the park needs to be booked a year in advance and someone else already had the date we needed.  We prayed for God to open a door for us to meet at the right place on the right date, thinking this meant somewhere else, maybe at some other time.

But God moved in an unexpected way: the park opened up for the last Saturday of August and we were able to step right in. Even more exciting, the favor shown to us didn’t end there; more than having one pavilion at one end of the park, we were invited to make use of a much larger recreation area including two pavilions and the land between them; we were invited to use large playing courts and given run of the place from water to electricity, from ample parking (when the offer came to have a league softball game rescheduled) to extra trash receptacles. In a moment we went from ‘impossibility’ to ‘blessed beyond measure’ as a path was made for us which we could not have cut ourselves.

As we have sought to be where God is moving, he has demonstrated his exceeding faithfulness. I can’t wait to share more with you in the days ahead!