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Simple Churches in Long Beach

“Imagine that the pandemic swept through your part of the world, and that all public assemblies of more than three people were banned by the government for reasons of public health and safety. And let’s say that due to some catastrophic combination of local circumstances, this ban had to remain in place for 18 months. How would your congregation of 120 members continue to function – with no regular church gatherings of any kind, and no home groups (except for groups of 3)? If you were the pastor, what would you do?”

Collin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine, 165 (2009)

I read this book 10 years ago and really enjoyed it. Truth be told, I don’t remember reading this quote. It isn’t even underlined in my copy of the book. At the time, there were signs of a potential swine-flu pandemic coming. I remember that, but it never affected my life personally. Re-reading this section now feels like Marshall and Payne were looking into the future. Of course, the reality is that these things will continue to happen this side of eternity. What seemed like an interesting but far-flung thought process now resonates prophetically. Whether we are prepared to endure the storm or not, the storms will come. We are in the midst of one now. I have heard many stories of churches courageously enduring, I haven’t heard many stories of innovative advance.

I have been tremendously encouraged by the way God is working through our dear friend JT (Jeff Timblin) and Bridges Church. In this season of COVID-19, this church of 300+ has shifted completely to releasing all their members to do church in a simple format. This overnight shift couldn’t take place overnight, so watch the video below or listen to the podcast to hear the story and be encouraged with us! Jesus is moving powerfully here in Long Beach!

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One reply on “Simple Churches in Long Beach”

[…] One of my most favorite stories I’ve heard in the midst of the pandemic from a church is Bridges Church here in Long Beach / North Orange County. The week before the shutdown started, they represented 1 large gathering of about 300+ people on Sunday mornings, and 4 simple churches of ~10-15 people each throughout the week. The next week in LA County we could only gather in groups of 10 or less, and they were able to shift from their 5 church gatherings to 12 simple churches, all meeting in homes. The following week we couldn’t even meet in groups anymore, and that Sunday they had closer to 19 simple churches meeting all over the city. You can read more about that here. […]