Meet the Team: The Bridge Church, Mansfield, CT
It is with joy we introduce you to The Bridge Church (TBC), led by Aaron Campbell and Nate Oliver. After a period of preparation, Aaron and Nate led a team to historic New England to plant The Bridge Church among the large population of Connecticut University, in Storrs Mansfield, CT. The Bridge Church began in August of 2011, with partnership help from FBC in Manchester, CT. Aaron was asked why he decided to help plant TBC. Aaron was reminded of the absence of gospel-witness in the New England area. "We are thankful to help fill the void," said Aaron. "Statistically, New England is on par with many of the unreached people groups of the world. This area that was once the center of the evangelical world is now post-Christian and often hostile to the gospel. College students are the future leaders and will make a huge impact on the world. By planting here my desire is to engage these students and the university community with the gospel with the hope that God will move in this area again."
Nate's family experienced a significant change of location when moving to CT. Ten years ago, he made the long trek north from South Carolina. The time he has spent since, learning and living in his new home, has proved instrumental. "One of the things I would say to future church planters is to get to know your area. Get to know the people, places, cultural similarities, and cultural differences. Don’t seek to import all of your culture to a new place," says Nate. Another down-to-earth piece of early advice Nate gives church planters is simply, "Make sure your wife is all in." Both Aaron and Nate know the importance of the family in church planting. Their two families consist of seven children, under the age of seven.
Since the beginning of TBC, Aaron and Nate have seen the Lord do great things; many of which have been beyond their expectations. They have seen people come to Christ and be baptized. On time, an entire family was baptized together. They've seen their church grow through the efforts of students sharing the gospel with other students, Bible reading groups, and community groups where the gospel is celebrated and sown in the lives of others. Because of their college campus context, university professors been well served by the church as well.
Looking to the future, Aaron and Nate hope the Lord will enable TBC to plant another church. They agreed, "There are needy towns and cities scattered across Connecticut. We also love to see us grow in our confidence in God’s Word. We want every person in the church investing in another person with God’s Word - to leverage their gifts in order to deposit God’s Word in someone else’s life and see how God would grow His church." They also hope to see how they can further engage professors on campus because they play such a huge role in the lives of students.
And finally, Nate and Aaron were asked what other advice they would give future church planters. They said, "Be prepared for a beautiful mess. Real life and real planting is so much messier than you want it to be. Often nothing goes like you want it to or as you plan for it to go, but the outcome is absolutely stunning because it is the Bride of Christ. Also, guard your family because they easily become collateral damage. And pray more than you think you need to. Lastly, don’t forget that it is God’s Spirit through God’s Word that builds God’s people." This is helpful advice for all.
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