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Building Bridges

New Oklahoma City Assemblies of God church finds its unusual downtown locale is beneficial.

As one of the few Spirit-filled churches in the heart of Oklahoma City, The Bridge OKC anticipates further growth as God opens doors as a result of the church’s unusual venue and ministries.

The Assemblies of God church launched in April 2015 as an extension of The Bridge in Mustang, a suburb of Oklahoma’s capital city. Leaders of The Bridge OKC set a goal of reaching 100 members within its first year, but by April 2016 an average of 130 attended each Sunday.

Unlike its parent church, The Bridge OKC doesn’t have a facility of its own. Services are held in the Will Rogers Theater in Uptown Oklahoma City.

Rodney Wardwell, lead pastor of The Bridge OKC, says that the church’s location in an event center has been a key in reaching the downtown community, despite the difficulties associated with not owning the facility.

“In some ways, our venue really helps us to attract the culture that we are trying to reach — the lost culture of Oklahoma City,” Wardwell says.

Before the launch of The Bridge OKC, The Bridge Mustang Senior Pastor Jim McNabb says he sought a downtown outreach for several years before the opportunity arose in 2013.

“There were a lot of traditional churches, but there weren’t any modern style, Spirit-filled churches in the area,” McNabb says. “We are now right in the center of Oklahoma City.”

While the church continues to experience growth, Wardwell is more heartened by participation in various small groups than by Sunday morning service attendance.  Along with small groups, The Bridge OKC has focused on developing creative and effective worship. The church already has written and released original worship music relevant to the downtown demographic.

In addition, The Bridge OKC places a strong emphasis on children’s ministry. Wardwell says there is a great need for the inclusion of ministries for the entire family and the church strives to provide for all age groups.

In terms of reaching out to the community, adherents are encouraged to be involved in the various ministry opportunities of The Bridge OKC throughout the downtown such as distributing bottled water to locals and delivering “Bridge Bags,” with necessities such as rinse-free soap and shampoo to the homeless.

Andrew Hurst

 Andrew Hurst is a journalist and freelance writer in Springfield, Missouri. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Evangel University in 2015. At Evangel, he served as the news editor for The Lance, Evangel’s student newspaper.  Hurst grew up in Asia and the South Pacific as a missionary kid. He moved to Springfield in 2005.