Bridge Street Ministries

About Us

Bridge Street Ministries exists to build bridges between the streets and the church. We are a Christian, place-based ministry operating in and serving the West Side of Grand Rapids. Our operation involves providing the youth of our neighborhood with a safe place where we can provide opportunities for social, spiritual and academic betterment. We believe that young people today will grow to become leaders in our community, and this is why we follow a Discipleship Pathway that begins in middle school and continues into college years. We are firm in our resolve that God is actively manifesting His kingdom in our neighborhood, that we are serving a mission that is greater than what we alone can accomplish, and that we all benefit from a community-focused ministry where we value and recognize the resources already present in this community which will glorify God and make His shalom felt throughout our neighbors. 

Our Story

In 2005, a group of young people moved into the West Side neighborhood after sensing a call from God to join together in intentional community and pray. The group was called to pray for a building across the street and God began to plan the seed of an idea – a community coffee shop, where everyone is treated with value and dignity, that fosters diverse community and helps bring shalom to the neighborhood. That idea grew into the Pavilion, a safe place where the people of the West Side could come together over a cup of coffee, be real, known, and loved. 

 

In 2009, a local church asked Bridge Street Ministries (then Bridge Street House of Prayer) to host their youth group’s summer mission trip. With the guidance of local neighbors and spiritual leaders, this grew into Grand Rapids Immersion, an annual time when youth from all backgrounds come together to grow spiritually, serve alongside each other, and learn from the people they serve. 

 

Focus on local ministry with global impact within BSM developed further in 2013, when our ministry purchased and renovated a multi-unit residential building in the West Side and 7 young men and women moved in to take a one year break from college and jobs to experience life inside an intentional, Christian community. So began the Bridge Street Mission School (now Grand Rapids Bridge Year), an 8-month gap-year program designed for college-aged students who desire to further explore their calling to ministry.

 

By 2014, BSM had begun tutoring Middle School students from Westwood Middle School. With the help of local academic and church partners, BSM has provided free after-school programming that engages the social, spiritual, and academic sides of development. Here, children are seen and respected. They are recognized as valuable members of our community, and given opportunities to have their voices heard as we disciple them through formative years. 

 

Late in 2018, God came through in a big way to assist our ministry. A historic neighborhood building that had for years held a convenience store, adult novelties shop, and sub-par residential units went up for sale. With the help of many generous donors, the building was purchased debt-free; and, with the help of local contractors and a small army of volunteers, that building now serves as the hub for all of our operations. Here, at 1034 Bridge Street, you will find our Pavilion coffee shop, a youth center that serves a vibrant, diverse group of kids from around our community, and a meeting space where we work together with local organizations to build bridges between the streets and the church. You are part of that story. 

 

We invite you to come grab a cup of coffee at the Pavilion, meet our friends and our neighbors, and be refreshed. 

 

Welcome to Bridge Street Ministries. 

Our Team

Statement of Faith

God

We believe that there is only one true God who has existed in complete perfection from eternity past and will never change for eternity to come.  He is a good God and he is a just God.  God is all-powerful and completely sovereign over all of creation and all of creation exists for his glory.  While God exists as one being, he exists in three distinct, yet not separate, persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God the Father

We believe that God the Father is transcendent, yet imminent in creation. He spoke all of creation into being in the beginning, walked with man in the Garden of Eden, and adopts all Christians as sons and daughters. God the Father desires to be in right relationship with all of creation.

God the Son

We believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man, possessing the essential nature of both, without compromising either.  Miraculously born of a virgin and living a sinless life, Jesus is the Son of God who was with God in the beginning.  Jesus died as an atonement for the sins of man, receiving the punishment of God in our place.  Conquering sin and death, Jesus rose victoriously from the grave earning salvation for all who believe in him.  Jesus rose again and is forever seated at the right hand of God, making intercession for man.  We believe that Jesus’ greatest mission is to bring glory to his Father

God the Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is fully God, present with God in the beginning, hovering over the waters of the deep.  The Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh on the day of Pentecost.  The Spirit is a free gift of God sent to teach us and guide us, and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement.  The Holy Spirit indwells every believer as a mark of their salvation and empowers them to witness about the resurrection of Jesus.  Ultimately, the Holy Spirit gives us revelation of Jesus, who glorifies the Father.

The Bible

We believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, written by man.  The Bible is useful for teaching, correcting, and rebuking.  All 66 books of scripture testify about Jesus, and are the ultimate authority over all things pertaining to life and faith.

Man

We believe that man was originally created good, in the image of God.  Man was originally created to co-labor and co-create with God to bring forth beauty and order in God’s creation.  Sin entered the world through man’s willful rebellion against God, thus distorting and corrupting man’s relationship with God, with fellow man, and with all of creation.  In addition, man’s sin brought him under the judgement of God.  Thus, due to man’s original sin, all men are now born into sin and are in need of salvation.

Salvation and Redemption

We believe that salvation comes through faith in Jesus alone, not by any works of man.  We believe that salvation is a free gift for all that put their faith in Jesus.  Yet, there will be many who willfully reject God and receive eternal punishment, even though all of creation testifies about his existence.

The Church

We believe that salvation comes through faith in Jesus alone, not by any works of man.  We believe that salvation is a free gift for all that put their faith in Jesus.  Yet, there will be many who willfully reject God and receive eternal punishment, even though all of creation testifies about his existence.

Heaven and Hell

We believe that salvation comes through faith in Jesus alone, not by any works of man.  We believe that salvation is a free gift for all that put their faith in Jesus.  Yet, there will be many who willfully reject God and receive eternal punishment, even though all of creation testifies about his existence.

Our Board of Directors

Steve VanPoolen

Board Chair, Executive Pastor at Crossroads Bible Church

John Booy

Vice Chair, Co-Founder and Superintendent of the Potter’s House School

Susie Renzema

Board Secretary, Director of Women’s Ministry at Lake Effect Church

Mark Van Tongeren

Board Treasurer, Director of Marketing at Ferris Coffee & Nut

Jeff Jackson

Managing Director, J. Ross & Associates