Ora et Labora: The Power of Staying
Kuyper alumnus Derek Sterenberg (2008) recently spoke at Kuyper’s Ora et Labora, a weekly time where speakers share about the work they are doing and how their faith impacts that work. Sterenberg is the Director of Youth Discipleship at Bridge Street Ministries, a community development and educational organization on the northwest side of Grand Rapids, MI.
When Sterenberg and his wife, Heather, moved to that side of town they prayed: “God, what are you doing here in this neighborhood, and how can we be a part of it?” Since moving there, they have seen violence, child abuse, and different kinds of addictions, but, Sterenberg said, “This is the place that God called us to 15 years ago, and by the grace of God we stayed.”
According to him, the first chapter of Genesis, cemented their call to stay. “In Genesis 1, God steps into that chaos and creates spaces for peace. He creates order out of chaos, and he challenges humans to do the same thing, saying ‘Fill the earth and subdue it.’ By creating spaces for peace in the midst of chaos, Bridge Street Ministries is fulfilling that command.
A space for peace, is the inspiration behind The Pavillion, a drop-in center offering free coffee and a safe space in the midst of a chaotic world. Bridge Street Ministries opened The Pavilion twelve years ago. They also have Resurgence, an after-school tutoring and Bible study program for Westwood Middle School students.
Bridge Street Ministries also offers a training program for high school graduates who are interested in pursuing missions. The Bridge Street Mission School is an eight-month program that equips students to serve in several areas of ministry. Credits from this program are accepted at Kuyper College, Grace Christian University and Calvin College
Sterenberg encouraged listeners to find the chaos around them, step into it, create places of peace, and stay there with Christ’s message of hope