It’s so hard to ask for help. Sometimes we think we are the only people in the world who are experiencing difficult times. We think no one will understand our particular set of circumstances. They might judge us. They migt try to control our decisions. They might even reject us if we are transparent. We don’t want people to help us out of a feeling of obligation and it can hurt if they expect something in return for their help. Sometimes reaching out feels like an impossible next step.
One of our prayers is that Bridgeway becomes a place of spiritual healing. Last June 5th of this year at both our Columbia and Owings Mill/Reisterstown campuses, our Sr. Pastor Dr. David Anderson, the Elders, and the Elders Council of Women commissioned twenty Bridgeway Caregivers. These caregivers have been carefully chosen from the congregation and given more than 50+ hours of special certified training by Stephen Ministry with ongoing supervision.
Bridgeway Caregiver Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing difficulties in their lives.
What makes Bridgeway caregivers unique? The training is comprehensive and adequate, yet the influence of Gracism is deeply grounded in them. Let me explain.
When the gospel touches us, our lives produce different outlooks. First, our motivation has changed. We care for each other out of generosity and unconditional love in our hearts, not out of obligation. We serve others out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us, not based on accolades, validation of others, or feeling good about ourselves. We no longer have to live and earn righteousness to be accepted by God. Our acceptance is because of what Christ has done on the cross. Because this is true, the power of the gospel truly liberates us from the fear of being rejected or hurt by others while serving. We can genuinely help others with no other motivation than the best interest of others because we have nothing to approve of or need anymore. We are already accepted in Christ.
Secondly, when Gracism touches our caregivers, a new sense of hope and humility appears toward others. The mindset of Gracism says, “No matter how difficult the situation is, we will never give up on the person.” There is a deep sense of humility within us, too. It is because we were once hopeless and broken beyond ourselves. Where does this hope of boldness and humility come from? Once again, the answer lies in the gospel:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
As we look back at our spiritual journey, we, too, were once unsalvageable, unworthy, and hopeless. Yet, Christ came to save us! And that is our hope. If the gospel is accurate, we have a chance, a hope that comes from God – not from within ourselves.
When Gracism touches our caregivers, we become courteous, considerate, and patient. We do not push, pull, or force others to change behaviors. The gospel shows us that “God is the cure-giver, and we are a caregiver.” We wait patiently for God, and help others move, act, and share grace. Only God can change our lives.
What brokenness and desperate situations have you experienced lately? Do you know anyone who has lost a loved one? Do you know anyone going through a broken relationship right now – divorce or separation? Is anybody facing a terminal illness or trying to recover after an accident or disaster? Do you struggle with past traumas, abuse, addiction, or financial problems? The Bridgeway caregivers would never say, “Your case is too hard. We are not sure we can help you.” Why do we have hope? It is because we know that we are only saved by grace alone. Nothing is too hard for our God.
Let us live out Dr. Anderson’s 7th saying of a Gracist: “I will celebrate with you” – Rejoicing when the humble and less fortunate among us are helped. (1 Cor. 12:26).
To reach out to Care Ministry at Bridgeway visit Bridgeway.cc/support. Just one next step will make all the difference.