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For the Welfare of the City

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Join us on October 18 to learn about BridgeBuilders 3.0. blog-button

You may have seen us talking about an event we are very excited about: For the Welfare of the City. This event is unique to any we've ever done, as we will be celebrating, and revealing, some exciting new developments at BridgeBuilders.

So no matter how long you've known us – for years or days – you will want to gather with us to learn about BridgeBuilders 3.0. We will enjoy a casual evening of food, fellowship, and fun as we learn about the new things that the Lord is doing in our city through the ministry.

To RSVP, click here or on the button above. We can't wait to see you there! P.S. We only have limited space, so get your spot before it's full!

September Challenge Grant Update

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I am thrilled to announce, thanks to your generosity, we have met our Challenge Grant goal!

As I've mentioned over the past month, the end of the summer is a challenging financial time for non-profit ministries like BridgeBuilders, due to a drop in seasonal giving.

Hopefully you've seen, through email, the blog, or a letter we sent, that at a recent staff prayer gathering we discussed our complete reliance upon God’s provision in every area of life, and cried out to Him for the provision needed to sustain BridgeBuilders. Two days later, we received a gracious challenge grant of $50,000, and YOU have stepped up and met this challenge!

This is only the beginning, I believe, as we must capitalize on this momentum to end 2016 in good standing. Today I am asking you to invest in this ministry, allowing us to work to cure poverty in Dallas. To make a gift, click here or on the button below. As always, thank you for your support of BridgeBuilders!

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An exciting fall for the After-School Program

With the start of the school year, we open the doors again for the BridgeBuilders KIDS After-School Program. It has been a great start to the year, with several exciting developments this fall. Shaun opening the day with a riddlePartnership with Dallas Afterschool Our new partnership provides us with connection to numerous other after school programs in the area, free training, and more. The programs and help offered by this organization allow us to reach higher standards, constantly helping us better our own program.

New Leadership After a year of working in the After-School Program, we are excited that Shaun and Laverne Grant have joined the BridgeBuilders team, leading the day-to-day operation of the program. Regina Suttle continues to handle the administrative leadership, focusing on volunteer engagement and obtaining funds and grants.

YMCA Partnership This fall we are also partnering with the YMCA for swimming lessons. Currently between 8-10 kids can earn the opportunity to go to the lessons, with the potential for more as the partnership grows.

Leverne leading some homework helpDallas Police The Dallas Police Department is helping us provide much-needed conflict resolution. Community officers are coming to the program and working with our teenagers on their ability to manage and resolve conflict. Not only does this provide a needed life skill, it also fosters goodwill between and our community and the police.

Roster once again strong Every day we have around 65 kids coming to receive these programs, not to mention a hot meal, homework help, and more, all in a safe and supportive environment.

And we need your help! We need 4-5 volunteers each day, as well as help providing the meals for these kids. If you are interested in volunteering or feeding a fun group of kids, click here to email Regina Suttle.

Bringing the community together through sports

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Later this month, our director of youth sports, William “Coach P” Pearson, with his organization, Metro Basketball Association, will host a high school basketball tournament, in an effort to promote unity among the people of DFW and law enforcement, military, and civic leaders. From Coach P:

In July of 2015, in response to what we were witnessing in the city of Baltimore, my wife and I felt that we needed to do something to remind people that we have more in common than not. Our desire was just to bring people together. We, along with a few others, put together funding, got the Police Chiefs and hosted a four week varsity basketball league. That’s how our first MBA / B.O.S.S. event was born.

We hosted 36 high school varsity basketball teams from all over the Metroplex. We were able to get the Police Chiefs or Officers from the cities of the schools that were participating to act as “honorary” head coaches. The event was a success with the Police Chiefs, players and coaches.

That was 2015, and little did we know that in 2016 we would have our own moment of truth right here in Dallas. The deaths of five police officers in downtown Dallas during what had been a peaceful protest shook us to our core. Our reality is that it happened here. But our resolve to bring people together has not waivered. We decided to form a non-profit and ask others that feel the way we do to come along side of us to promote unity. We will use sports as the vehicle to bring hope and healing.

DFW is our community. Join us as we work together to protect the legacy of DFW as a place where people work together, where honor, respect, compassion, citizenship and community mean something. We are all “our brother’s keeper,” and our hope is that the MBA/B.O.S.S. continues to provide a platform for community. In the face of adversity our response is to speak out and stand tall for truth. We want to make this year’s event even bigger, bring more people together!!!!

The tournament will feature 30 boys teams, and six girls teams, from across the DFW Metroplex. Once again this year, each team participating will have an "honorary coach," consisting of law enforcement, military, and civic leaders.

Click here for the full statement from Coach P, including the plan for the event, and how to get involved. Join us in supporting Coach P in the effort to bring unity to our communities!

IGYB Wrap Up

We are now two days removed from one of our biggest events of the year, I Got Your Back. This year 50 volunteers gathered to distribute backpacks, food, supplies, and more to almost 400 community members. Not to mention lots of face paint, photo booth pictures, and sno cones! In addition, the program provided backpacks to other community organizations and churches. All totaled, IGYB provided more than 1100 backpacks into our community! A BIG thank you to volunteers and to those who filled backpacks! Check out a few photos of the event below.

RCCD Anniversary

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This weekend Restoration Community Church Dallas will celebrate three years of God’s faithfulness. Join us this Sunday as we wish Restoration Community Church Dallas, our partner church co-founded by Mike Fechner and Von Minor, a happy anniversary. Located just next door to the BridgeBuilders offices, RCCD is impacting this community through the sharing of the Gospel and edifying the church body through the Word of God, worship and Christian Education.

You are invited, this Sunday, August 21 at 11 AM for a worship celebration, encouraging sermon by Jonathan Evans, Chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys and son of Dr. Tony Evans, followed by a church anniversary picnic on the grounds after service! There will be fun, food, and games for the entire family!

For more information, see the flyer below or click here to visit the RCCD Facebook page.

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What We're Reading - August

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Community and Economic Development: Transforming Our Cities Through LoveA call to eliminate the “broken vending machine” policies that characterize most community development work and seek to build on things that already exist in communities rather than trying to build on what is not.

Mission Muffins: Serving the Poor in a Biblical, Sustainable, and Effective Way The story of Mission Muffins, a business geared towards fighting poverty in a biblical and effective way. Homeless men enter the program and receive life skills and business skills and are then employed to sell muffins to local office buildings. BridgeBuilders does something very similar to this through BridgeBuilders WORK. Here we invite low-income individuals to join us for four weeks of life skills and vocational training, after which, we introduce them to one of our corporate employment partners who has available jobs.

PovertyCure Online Magazine PovertyCure is one of BridgeBuilders’ favorite follows. They produce great content and have the same heart as us for true poverty alleviation. They have just released a new e-magazine with some great articles to read. Check it out!

Unique ways to support BridgeBuilders

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Did you know that as a non-profit, BridgeBuilders heavily relies on donations in order to continue our work? Don’t run away just yet, this blog is not us asking you to give, well sort of… Recently we have begun a few unique ways for you to support BridgeBuilders, without writing us a check.

United Way UWMD_LogoThe BridgeBuilders WORK program was recently awarded a grant from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. This is great news for our life skills and vocational training, but it is NOT the end of the help we hope to get from United Way.

Receiving this grant also means that we are now a United Way Service Provider. If your company hosts a United Way employee giving campaign, you can now add BridgeBuilders as one of your designations!

Amazon Smile Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.31.53 AMYou may have seen us talk about Amazon Smile, but here’s a short refresher. When you shop through BridgeBuilders’ account on Amazon Smile, a small portion of your purchase is given as a donation to BridgeBuilders.

If you shop on Amazon as much as I do (great prices on diapers!), then this is a very simple way to support BridgeBuilders financially, and it won’t cost you any extra money!

To shop Amazon Smile, click here or the icon on the right, and login in to your Amazon account. But be sure and Bookmark the page and shop from Amazon Smile from now on, so BridgeBuilders can continue to receive your support.

So whether you stock up on toilet paper and paper towels online, or give through your employer, thank you for helping us continue to work to cure poverty in our city.

What We're Reading - July

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In light of this past week's tragedies, here are some helpful resources to help you process all that has happened with a gospel-centered worldview:

Overcoming Hate with the Love of Christ A statement from BridgeBuilders’ president, Michael Craven, on the recent violence and heightened racial tension in our country.

How the Gospel Ends Racial Hostility “The gospel reminds us that even when we deserved the wrath of God, through Christ’s death and resurrection, we received the love of God. It is impossible to be truly captured by the love of Christ and respond with hate to those who have wronged you. It is unjust to receive unmerited grace and demand others to earn your mercy.”

How to Pray for the Police A good reminder about how we should be praying for those who serve and protect.

Breaking the cycle of poverty

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By now you have hopefully seen a letter in the mail from me, outlining all that we are doing at BridgeBuilders to end the cycle of poverty, including a few specifics about this summer. (To see a full version of the letter, click here.) BridgeBuilders is addressing the root causes of poverty, which are relational rather than material. With your support, we are working to solve the plaguing problem of modern poverty, rooted in the broken relationships with God, self, others, and creation.

HisBridgebuilders-067BridgeBuilders maintains missionaries in South Dallas that work to reconcile people to God through Christ, thereby giving them a new nature, followed by an array of redemptive programs and services in our West Dallas location that teach the poor how to live in right relationship with themselves, others and creation—what the Bible calls shalom.

Please consider making a donation today so we can continue to press God’s kingdom into the impoverished areas of our city, building His church, and demonstrating to a watching world that Jesus is the King of Kings who has promised to make all things new!

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Current Job Openings at BridgeBuilders

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Have a passion for the poor in Dallas? Want to join a team of people committing to curing poverty? We have two current openings and are looking for great candidates to be part of our team! See the job descriptions below, and email resume and salary requirements to Sarah Conner at sconner@hisbridgebuilders.org. Executive Assistant - immediate start Click here to view the job description

Director of Development - September 1 Click here to view the job description

Independence Day

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For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 It is the Fourth of July, our American Independence Day. It is a day we celebrate our freedom. We honor those who have given their lives for us to be free, and celebrate the citizenship in our amazing country.

I have some really good news: we're free. But you know what? Our freedom is two-fold. Yes we live in the most free nation in the history of the world, but we have a far greater freedom in Christ: the freedom from sin.

For freedom Christ has set us free. Has this verse every puzzled you? Does it seem redundant? Another way you could say it is, God values freedom so much that He came to set us free. This is our great joy, and our great witness, that through Christ we are no longer subject to the yoke of slavery to sin and the law.

If you are acquainted with BridgeBuilders, you know that we believe that poverty is the result of four fractured relationships: with God, self, others, and creation, which were broken when sin entered the world (Genesis 3). The good news we are working to share with those in poverty is that there is freedom, not just from the material symptoms of poverty, but from the broken relationships caused by sin.

God cares so much about this freedom that He sent His Son, and this is why we do what we do: that those living in poverty would experience the freedom from sin that is available to every one of us through Jesus. So go tell someone about your freedom today, it is a wonderful day to be free!

Clifton joining the team

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We are excited today to announce the addition of Clifton Reese, BridgeBuilders’ newest Urban Missionary.

Many of you know Clifton as a long-time Bonton resident and member of the BridgeBuilders family. Several months ago Clifton expressed his desire and calling to serve as a missionary to his community, and we are thrilled the Lord has brought this dream to life.

As an urban missionary organization, we recognize the tremendous importance of raising local leadership. This is why we are especially excited about Clifton, who has already begun ministering in his home community... this is a monumental event in our history!

For a short message from Clifton about his ministry in Bonton, click on the video above. To partner with Clifton click here to visit hisbridgebuilders.org/clifton.

The Urban Ministry Institute at BridgeBuilders

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We are excited to announce that BridgeBuilders has become the 239th satellite campus of The Urban Ministry Institute! The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) is a program developed by World Impact, an urban church planting organization with decades of experience in impoverished communities. TUMI was designed to equip urban church leaders, who might not qualify for tradition Bible college and seminary education, with high-quality biblical and theological training. The scope of the curriculum covers Biblical Studies (OT and NT), Theology & Ethics, Christian Ministry, and Urban Missions.

Each of these course areas has 4 modules that are divided into 4 lessons. Being a modular program, there is no need to start from the beginning. Students can jump in and out or transfer freely from one satellite campus to another. After completing the 16-modules, including exegetical papers and ministry projects, the graduate of the program will receive a Certificate in Christian Leadership from The Urban Ministry Institute.

Our current plan is to begin offering TUMI classes in the Fall to our urban missions team through our new Urban Missions Training Center. Classes are also open to anyone who is currently a leader in any orthodox, evangelical church in our area. Schedules and costs are forthcoming.

If you’d like to learn more about TUMI or if you are interested in joining us for class this fall, email Josh Conner. We would also love anyone with a passion for theological education to join us in prayer for our teachers, mentors, students, and all of the administrative and resource costs that go into running a training center for the Church.

What We're Reading - June

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Poverty Inc. on NetflixActon Institute has recently released their newest documentary, Poverty Inc., onto Netflix. This provocative film explores the dangers of Western paternalism and the demoralizing and tragic effects it has on the world’s poor. If you have access to Netflix, this is a must watch. Here is a link to a short review of the film.

Underutilized Resources “The focus of the global church should be partnerships that support local church’s autonomy, responsibility and resourcefulness in caring for the poor within their community.”

Local churches in impoverished areas are uniquely gifted to proclaim and demonstrate the good news of the kingdom of God to the poor in their communities. Affluent churches, parachurches, and non-profits must take the time to develop relationships with local churches in order to discern how best to aid them as THEY bring the gospel and alleviate poverty in their communities.

Lessons on Work as Service from a Hotel Housekeeper Learn how keeping the main thing the main thing of work from a 57-year-old hotel housekeeper honors God and brings flourishing to life.

Eddie and Carla

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Today is the first installment of Meet the BridgeBuilder, an opportunity to get to know some of the members of the team. Meet the BridgeBuilder will feature staff, volunteers, clients, and more. Usually responsible for helping clients graduate, Eddie and Carla are both celebrating graduations of their own.

eddieEddie King has worked at BridgeBuilders for five years as our Database Administrator. A member of the Bridges of Hope team, Eddie and company help recruit and assist students working their way through our life skills and employment training.

After two years at Le Cordon Bleu, Eddie will graduate this summer with his culinary degree.

“I started cooking about five years ago,” Eddie says. “People just told me they liked my cooking, so I thought I would pursue it. Ultimately I’d like to be a personal chef or caterer. It’s a fun, fast-paced environment. And it’s hot, I can touch a hotter pan than probably the average person.

“It’s also really rewarding when people are pleased and happy with their dining experience, and when you did that for them. No matter what is on the plate, it’s always your vision. Imagination can take you a long way.”

carlaCarla Robinson, also a member of the Bridges of Hope team, has worked at BridgeBuilders for eight years as Income Support Specialist. Carla will also be graduating this summer, with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services from the University of Phoenix.

Carla hopes eventually to work with young men in the community, looking to reach them before they enter destructive lifestyles, and is currently interning with the Dallas County Probation Office.

“I’m learning the probation side of things, the process and programs available to redirect them to become law abiding citizens,” says Carla.

“This has been a long road for me, going to school and working, but they say only the strong survive, so I guess I can say I’m strong.”