A bridge for the 'unchurched'

Herb Nygren Jr./Staff Scott and Tammy Grizzle, of LifeBridge Christian Center in Tyler, pose for a photo Thursday at Starbucks in Tyler.

Even though LifeBridge Christian Center in Tyler opened only seven weeks ago, lead pastor Scott Grizzle doesn't want your church members.

"There's a perception in the Bible Belt that there's a church on every corner, and there practically is, but the greater percentage is people who are unchurched," he said. "Our vision is to create a church the unchurched find irresistible."

According to the Pew Research Center, "the percentage of Americans who say they ‘seldom' or ‘never' attend religious services (aside from weddings and funerals) has risen modestly in the past decade to roughly three-in-ten U.S. adults (29 percent)" in 2013.

And that is who LifeBridge is trying to reach, Grizzle said.

Grizzle, 47, and his wife Tammy, 51, moved here from the LifeBridge Church in Longview (the church in Tyler is independent from the church in Longview, however).

"We felt called to Tyler," he said. "When we visited, it really felt like home, like we had a purpose."

After 21 years in the U.S. Army, Scott and his family made East Texas their home in 2007.

Grizzle said he hopes to make LifeBridge "irresistible" to people who don't typically attend a church.

"An irresistible church is refreshing, a place where the presence of God is known and felt," he said. "It's also enjoyable. Church should be fun. And an irresistible church is relational. People genuinely care about you. An irresistible church is relevant. The message is something you can add to your life. If people can't see God making a difference in their lives, why should they go? It's not just fire insurance."

The church also offers a full children's ministry, said Mrs. Grizzle, and encourages parents to partner with the church in their children's spiritual development.

"There are 954 weekends from when a child is born to when it's 18," Mrs. Grizzle said. "There's a lot less time than you think."

The church rents space from All Saints Episcopal School for the time being, but is a nondenominational congregation (attendance now varies from 60 to 100). They will be there through Easter, but are looking at finding a space of their own, Grizzle said.

Our mission, day in and day out, is to be a bridge to life where people far from God reach their fullest potential in Christ," he said. "We believe every person has been created for a purpose."

For more information, visit lifebridgetyler.com.





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