On New Year’s Day, 2014, two Spirit-filled ministers stepped out in faith and followed God’s call to start their own ministry. Pastors Jose (left) and Annette (right) Vasquez are the leaders of an impactful new church in Newburgh, NY, named Church at the Bridge. The idea for the church’s name originated from its close proximity to the Newburgh-Beacon bridge, but the meaning behind it is derived from its vision: “Helping people to CONNECT with God, CONNECT with others, and CONNECT with their community.” Just as bridges connect one place to another, Church at the Bridge connects people with some of the most essential elements of life as a Christian: God, other people, and the community. I have been attending Church at the Bridge since the beginning of February, and I’ve been extremely satisfied with this ministry. It is determined to preach and teach the Word of God, and to show the love of Christ to everyone it serves.
I first met Pastor Jose and Pastor Annette a long time before they started Church at the Bridge. I was a freshman in high school, and they were volunteers in my church’s youth group. Before long, they became the pastors of that youth group. Throughout their time in that position, they were faithful, loving, caring, and empowering toward the youth. Now that they have begun their own church, they have retained the qualities that they displayed in the youth group and translated them to a new location and a new congregation. They have dedicated their lives to building the faith, love, care, and empowerment of the people whom they serve.
Small groups are a huge part of Church at the Bridge’s philosophy. Small groups allow people to ask the questions that they feel uncomfortable asking in church after hearing a sermon. At the Bridge, we call our small groups “Connect Groups,” because they give us an opportunity to connect with God and each other in a deeper way. They also allow us to connect with Scripture through asking questions and having discussions. I have been blessed by our connect groups; I have made some incredible friends, and I’ve learned amazing things about Scripture and about God.
I have seen God moving in powerful ways through these pastors and through this ministry. The church began with twelve people in the Vasquez home, and now, after little more than three months, it hosts between forty and fifty people every week. It has also been positively impacting the community in a variety of ways. As Church at the Bridge continues to grow, and as Pastor Jose and Pastor Annette continue to follow God’s call, I feel privileged to witness and be a part of this incredible ministry.