As you may know, we believe that the most pressing need for those suffering from “New Poverty” is reconciliation with God through Christ. Why? Because the New Poverty that plagues our cities today is primarily not a financial problem. New Poverty’s most apparent symptom may be financial and material want but it is really a cultural problem rooted in the human problem of estrangement from God, self, others, and creation that results from sin and the fall. The effect is a society that suffers from an inaccurate worldview that when acted upon makes it nearly impossible to flourish or experience shalom.
This is why we launched an intentional “missions” emphasis two years ago—to boldly and clearly proclaim the gospel to the unreached who were traditionally labeled “the poor.”
However, we don’t believe that we are called to operate apart from the authority and support of the local church. We exist to build up the Body of Christ by offering the Church a platform through which they can more effectively serve the poor by alleviating the conditions that perpetuate their poverty.
Koinonia Christian Church and Senior Pastor, Dr. Ronnie Goines illustrate the way in which this relationship can work best. Dr. Goines has a long-standing relationship with BridgeBuilders. Ten years ago, before Dr. Goines became the founding pastor of the now 4000-member Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas, Ronnie was on staff as a Ministry Associate with BridgeBuilders.
As a young seminarian, Ronnie was tasked with reaching the lost in Bonton. In doing so, Ronnie conceived of the most effective outreach effort this ministry has ever seen: “Ballin’ & Bible.” Through basketball, Ronnie was able to attract a large number of men from the community every Monday night where he would serve as “pastor.” They would play a couple of games, stop the action, and gather with Ronnie while he explained the Scriptures to them. Many young men came to faith in Christ and saw their lives radically transformed.
Sadly, the time would come for Ronnie to move on; Turner Courts was torn down to make way for new Section 8 housing and the program simply never recovered its initial traction and eventually disappeared. Upon hearing of this past success, Michael Craven, our president, sought to re-ignite the program under the new banner of “Hoop Church.” In doing so, he sought out and reconnected with Ronnie, now Dr. Goines, seeking his advice.
Upon hearing Michael’s vision for BridgeBuilders and our desired relationship with the local church, Dr. Goines got excited! He took the idea of partnering with BridgeBuilders to launch an active mission and church plant in Bonton to his leadership team. Their response was overwhelmingly, yes and amen! So, this coming March (following the installation of the new gym floor courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks), Dr. Goines, with help from his church, will resume this highly effective outreach but this time with the goal of helping us plant a church in Bonton.
In addition to men’s ministry through basketball, Koinonia will offer women’s ministry in Bonton led by their women’s ministry team.
This is an exciting partnership demonstrating how an urban mission like BridgeBuilders and the local church can work together to advance the kingdom in a missional context like South Dallas, which requires particular missiological expertise and understanding.
How can you “Be the Bridge” between those without hope and Christ?