Does the Church Matter?

August 23, 2022

I recently finished reading Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance. Author Edgar Villanueva is Native and Christian and he writes from his vast experience in the philanthropic world.

In the book’s forward, Rev. William J. Barber II writes,

“What does it mean to love our neighbor? It is a question that resonates in the hearts of those of any faith, as well as those of no particular faith who long to live in a healthy and just world. It is a question that is not bounded by the walls of any church. It is a question that must be taken up in the halls of government, on the sets of films and TV shows, in classrooms and the boardrooms of corporations and foundations, across the nation and indeed the world. What conversations, actions, and policies must we implement? It is the question at the heart of this book: How can we truly love our neighbor?”

So often I write about Loving Our Neighbors as the voice of a Christian faith-based non-profit. We identify this call and command as the very heart of our work – not just what we do but how we do it. But Barber’s words also pose an indirect question – If loving our neighbors is not bounded by the church, then why does it matter that the church love its neighbors?

I’ve been reflecting on this and what has stayed with me is that the church can only understand the life of Jesus and the love of God through this call. It’s a practice we get to do. I find joy in any church partnering with Bridge of Hope, but there is something really special about churches reaching out to us because they know how vital this ministry is – not just to families, but to the churches as well. Jesus was born, lived and died on the margins. His Spirit remains there. Christian life is awaiting us in the margins of our community. Perhaps this is where we learn how to “truly love” as Barber writes.

Bridge of Hope is not just a bridge for families, it’s also a bridge for churches.

Bridge of Hope has a nationally recognized program model for ending family homelessness. We train our volunteers thoroughly and with intention. We connect them with families ready to live into a story of hope. There’s no financial obligation. This is about presence and relationship with a humble heart.

What an opportunity.

Does the Church Matter?