Throughout biblical history God changed the names of His people to signify a new mission and purpose. Jacob became Israel. Simon became Peter. Saul’s name changed to Paul. Name changes often reveal God’s plan. Ministries and churches sometimes change names for many of the same reasons. That said, we are making a change as we seek to create a Christ-centered mission at Community First! (CF!) Our mission and purpose will remain the same: to create a life-giving spiritual growth model that will launch a wave of Christ followers from Community First! and beyond. However, we will go with a new name that more clearly reflects who we are. So here’s the deal: New Bridge is becoming The Gathering. Same ministry, new name.
There are a few reasons for the name change to The Gathering.
- A lot is different since we started serving at CF! a year and a half ago. When we launched the ministry at CF! there was no one living on the property of the 27-acre master planned community that will ultimately lift 250 disabled, chronically homeless off the streets. Currently, we have about 60 folks who call Community First! home. We are beginning to identify a core group with a deep desire to create ministry environments so that folks can know Christ, grow in Christ and serve Christ. The influx of people living at CF! is a huge change.
- Don’t make something so complex that is so simple. We have been asking a number of folks what they are looking for in creating a Christ-centered mission at CF! The simple reason stated repeatedly is, “We just need to gather.” The word gather is defined as coming together from scattered places. The definition fits the heartbeat of The Gathering.
- The Gathering is a church surrounded by a mission. We will soon break ground at CF! on the sanctuary and hospitality center. The facility will be prominently located front and center of the 27 acres at CF! and will be where The Gathering will meet for worship, small groups, retreats, recovery meetings and more. The sanctuary and hospitality center will be a few yards away from a missional bed and breakfast, a health center, community market, micro-enterprise operation and large garden that cultivates community through sustainable agriculture. This is all part of a greater vision that seeks to empower communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless (and formerly homeless).
The hope is that The Gathering will draw folks from CF! and beyond into a Christ-centered mission. This will look much different than the traditional church. We believe most churches are looking for a mission and The Gathering is part of a mission that has a church. Because of the unique ministry taking place at CF! among folks that are under resourced, we will continue to rely on the investment, support and involvement of well resourced individuals, groups, churches and ministries.
Thank you for caring!