Irresistible Influence

On this date in 1909, the Manhattan Bridge officially opened to the public. The bridge spans the East River and connects lower Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn. It amazes me that the engineers who built many of our famous bridges did so without the aid of a computer. Even with the assistance of computers, I’m not sure where to begin when building a bridge! However, we all can understand why we need bridges. With the Arkansas River cutting through our city, bridges become essential in keeping Tulsans connected. When they are closed, we feel the impact of finding a new route to our intended destination.

It’s incredible how often engineers faced skepticism. James Roebling found that to be true in 1851, as he took over bridging the Niagara River Gorge with a suspension bridge for a train crossing. In his book, The Church of Irresistible Influence, Robert Lewis writes that “people were putting their money on the gorge, not the bridge.” The bridge opened successfully in 1855. Lewis goes on to write about how important an idea can be. He says that ideas, good or bad, rule us. Lewis wanted Jesus’ ideas to become a part of the church he pastored. He believed Fellowship Bible in Little Rock should be a force of irresistible influence in its community.

Lewis writes, “by building bridges of real spiritual integrity between itself and an increasingly skeptical society, we possess the power and authority to be a catalyst for change and an engine of influence.” Living influentially as believers means taking Jesus at His command to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18–20), to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13–14).

In some ways, the year ahead seems to have significant gaps between the church and the lost. We can bridge those gaps. Jesus has called us to bridge those gaps. Together, let us be a church that influences Tulsa with the Good News.