After teaching several sessions of the Breaking Down the Walls class, Courtney Humphreys noticed a trend. “People were curious about what to do next … they craved opportunities to engage in a small group setting to explore issues of race and justice,” she says.
In her journey to find that next step, she discovered Be the Bridge. Be the Bridge is a small-group curriculum focused on justice and amplifying the voices of the marginalized and oppressed. Together with co-leader Joyce Small, they formed a group of 10 people with a mix of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. For now, they meet via Zoom; it’s a nine-session commitment. The group is bound by a shared love of Christ, and the unifying message of the Gospel guides their conversations.
“My heart is heavy when I think of how African Americans are still being treated in this country. I’m very proud to be a part of this group of people who are willing to have these hard conversations. It’s a start,” says Joyce.
She invited Lala McClain to join the group. “I had heard mentors mention this program and I was interested, so the timing was great,” says Lala. “I love that people are participating because they want to … they weren’t pushed into it by a job or a church. We want to learn and grow together. These conversations are a small step forward, but the important thing is to apply what we learn when we leave the group. It’s actions that count,” she says.
Be the Bridge offers guidelines on how to form a successful group. It should be no more than 50% white with diversity in leadership. Courtney also feels it’s important to note that not all members attend 2PC.
“This group is a safe place for us to learn and lament together,” she says. In fact, that’s part of their mission statement: To lament and learn together to more fully reflect and embrace the beautiful diversity of God’s kingdom. The group also created its own Values (such as acceptance, vulnerability and respect), and Rules of Engagement (for example, always assume the best of one another).
We need more of this in our city and in our country, says Joyce. “It’s helping us heal from our past and understand our present … it’s just the beginning of us coming together as a people.”
Interested in Starting a Be the Bridge Group?
Visit bethebridge.com. There are many resources on the site, including curriculum especially for college and youth small groups.