The 410 Bridge is in Alpharetta, Georgia, a few miles north of Atlanta. However, if you were to look at a map of the area, you might be surprised to find that you can’t find a highway number 410. No highway, no bridge, right? Wrong. There is a 410 Bridge. Not a physical bridge leading people over a river or ravine. It is a spiritual bridge leading people and communities across the chasm that separates people from Christ. The 410 Bridge is a Christ-centered, non-profit organization committed to relentlessly pursuing healthy community development in nations confined by poverty.
The 410 Bridge has a unique, holistic approach to the redemption of people burdened by poverty, built upon the “bridge” of 1 Peter 4:10 – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
Currently serving in Kenya, Haiti, Uganda, and Guatemala, 410 Bridge has similar objectives as Gospel for Asia (GFA) and other faith-based, Christ-centered NGOs. The organization approaches its objective in five key areas familiar to us in a way that creates lasting freedom from the bondage of poverty. Those “Areas of Development” include clean water, education, economic development, health, and discipleship.
The distinctive, unique difference of the 410 Bridge is its operational model.
The 410 Bridge employs a community development model that includes four essential components. The 410 Bridge website describes the four components of sequential development as
1. Establishing Indigenous Leadership
In each 410 Bridge community, a Leadership Council, comprised primarily of local pastors and leaders, is established first. This approach is built on the principles of serving and working through the local church, allowing them to lead, and not usurping their authority.
2. Conducting a Community Assessment
Each Council identifies assets and gifts in their community, as well as the community’s greatest needs, both physical and spiritual. The assessment is both a Biblical approach and a best practice for successful businesses. It helps 410 Bridge to stand firm on its principle of doing the right thing as God defines it.
3. Creating a Development Plan
After assessing a community’s needs, the Leadership Council prioritizes the areas of development they believe need the most attention, then makes an action plan. This helps the 410 Bridge to adhere to the principles of measuring the progress of the local community within the context of their assessed capabilities rather than pushing Western-driven solutions. Progress is measured by what the community does for itself, not what 410 Bridge does for the community.
4. Developing a Lasting Partnership
The 410 Bridge and our partners then come alongside these communities to help them achieve their goals. The organization is community-driven, not project-driven, with an emphasis on discipleship and personal responsibility to create lasting life change. The local leaders and people are responsible for completing and maintaining projects and programs under the guidance of the 410 Bridge.
Typical reports on missions-minded nonprofits would outline their multiple programs at this point, but a statement on the 410 Bridge Statement of Faith leaps off the page as something all believers need to read. One item on their Statement of Faith is similarly found on those of most evangelistic organizations:
“God calls all believers to ‘go and make disciples,’ to share the gospel of Jesus Christ through words, love, and deeds.”
However, it is the statement immediately prior to that one that both summarizes why 410 Bridge, GFA, and similar faith-based NGOs do what they do. It is also a statement of faith that encourages us in the work. With it, this article closes:
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