Bridge Builders’ purpose is to encourage and promote mature and skilled leadership within the Church, and to effect a change in the culture of how disagreement, tension and conflict are handled in church life. Bridge Builders is working with a new strapline: Bridge Builders – Transforming church culture: the way leaders lead, the way conflict is handled. The goal is that the Church, by developing a new culture of peacemaking and conflict transformation, will better reflect the reconciling work of God in the world.
Bridge Builders’ principal activity is training church leaders to be more self-aware and effective leaders, and to find better ways to understand and handle conflict within the Church. In addition, Bridge Builders provides interpersonal mediation, group consultancy, and individual coaching and consultancy, to assist those facing escalated tension and conflict within the Church. Bridge Builders also trains others to provide such services, and coordinates a network of people who have completed its foundation training.
As well as running tailored courses on request, Bridge Builders offers a core training programme of longer courses comprising:
• Transforming Church Conflict: a foundational training course for church leaders (with a special version of the course for senior leaders with oversight responsibilities).
• Training of Trainers: a course that equips participants to be able to lead a one- or two-day workshop using Bridge Builders’ materials.
• Mediating Interpersonal Conflicts: a course to train Christians in a structured mediation process to address interpersonal conflicts in the Church and beyond.
• Consulting with Church Groups: a course that trains Christians to lead a consultancy process for groups facing escalated tensions.
• Church Leadership and Family Systems: a course that helps leaders to reflect on their ministry in the light of their family background, from a family systems theory perspective.
Founded in 1996 as a service of the London Mennonite Centre, and growing out of Mennonite work in conflict transformation, Bridge Builders has established a strong reputation for its work among the leaders of many different church traditions in Britain. In September 2011 Bridge Builders was established as a charitable organisation independent of the London Mennonite Centre.