GICN Member Church Spotlight
The Bridge, Paris, France
Pastor Todd Tyson
Share a brief overview of the history of The Bridge and where it is today.
The Bridge began with a team of people arriving in Paris the summer of 2009. Most were part of the launching of Thousand Hills in the Netherlands so the vision was clear for an international church. The first public service was March 14, 2010 and the church steadily grew, focusing on small groups & children’s ministry. A small French African service developed out of a home group that began to meet with us on Sundays. Then in September 2015 a 2nd English service was added as well. The Bridge started in a hotel conference center and continues to meet there today with all 3 services. There are between 200-250 adults & children on an average Sunday as of September 2016.
What is the next step for The Bridge in terms of growth and future?
The Bridge just agreed in principle to lease a ministry center for all mid-week activities. This is an important step that we started focusing on a year ago. We will continue to meet in the hotel conference center due to the budget & location advantages, but the next step after establishing an active ministry center for small groups & other meetings will be to find another location in the city for Sunday services. We are planning on the multi-site model; however, we will feature live preaching as long as possible.
Our staff is still all volunteer, and mostly missions-supported, so we will also look to hire a pastor who is ideally bi-ligual and can lead without time of itineration back in his or her home country!
Describe The Bridge in terms of ‘international-ness’.
The Bridge welcomes about 30 nationalities on any given Sunday. Over the course of a month 60 nations have been counted so it definitely reflects the diversity of Paris. We are thankful to be able to provide French translation via headsets in the English service, and live translation into English when needed in the French African service. We see a solid mix of expats, students and those who have moved to France permanently. Our French attendees (less than 25%) tend to be young, work in English or have a spouse from another country.
Tell me about some challenges you have led The Bridge through in the last few years.
We were targeting a 2nd location for services in early 2015 but when that fell through, we simply decided to add the second service at our current location starting in September 2015. That was disappointing but has helped us work out the kinks with multiple services, which will definitely help us in the future.
Are you facing any challenges right now that you’d like to share?
Our biggest challenges are developing leaders better and faster (due to our large annual turnover). Developing lay leaders to move to higher levels of leadership is important for us. Then to grow our budget to adjust to the new ministry center rent as well as preparing for staff salaries in the future.
How can fellow FEIC churches pray for you guys?
Pray for our team as our two lead pastors (Todd & Kelly are working as a team now) both will be itinerating at different times over the next two years. We have a terrific staff from different backgrounds, and this is the strongest our staff has been since the initial launch, so just pray that God helps us as people come and go. And that we are able to reach our potential as leaders!