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Sensitivity – but no tricks

Using the Bridge Strategy

“Use what is dominant in a culture to change it very quickly. It is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender”
– Carved quotation outside Ulazdowski Castle Arts Centre, Warsaw

The Bridge Strategy is a major factor in effective online outreach. It allows us to target any group of people according to their special interest or felt need, hobby, ethnicity or language (I Cor 9:19-23). This is a quite remarkable and unique capability of the Internet.

However, it is important that there should be no element of trickery in either bringing people to the page in the first place, or the content they find when they reach it (2 Cor 4:2). At the same time, any outreach site should use appropriate contextualization for its readers: the X-Spectrum enables us to define this on a scale of 1 to 6.

Pages which claim to be about a subject should give useful quality information on that subject. ‘Decoy’ pages, which do not contain promised information, are not appropriate, or any sort of ‘bait and switch’ or ‘cut and run’ approach. (Neither, incidentally, is the purchase of bulk email addresses so that an evangelistic email can be sent to those who have not asked for it.) We should act with integrity. Even the sometimes-used term ‘stealth evangelism’ implies trickery. Pastor Charles Bing's How to Share the Gospel Clearly gives valuable insight.

The importance of what he calls ‘worthy witness’ is described by a leading mission strategist in this short article.

At the same time, a bridge page need not look Christian in terms of its language or graphics. Like all pages, it should avoid jargon. It may make little mention of Christianity at all, allowing the links to other pages to progressively offer material on the Gospel.

It is important to take care to get the balance right. Many of the evangelistic sites showcased in this Guide are using the 'bridge' approach in a wise and sensitive way.

Although the Gospel never changes, our means and strategies must do so. Although we cannot compare the strategies needed for today with those which worked 150 years ago, it is worth noting that Spurgeon used the ‘bridge’ approach. For instance, speaking at what would now be called a Businessman’s Breakfast in Aberdeen, he spoke on ‘Success in Life’, first in secular affairs and then in spiritual life. Indeed, all his writings were embedded with secular illustrations and humor.

Understanding the Bridge Strategy

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