In 2006, Pastor Marty Schmidt felt called by God to plant a church that would make a difference. A church that his friends who had given up on the church would love to attend. That if they were to come, they would encounter Jesus and experience the living God. He wanted to plant a church that had powerful worship, authentic leadership, relevant biblical teaching, and a heart for the lost, hurting, and broken. He wanted to see a church with faith that was in action both locally and globally.
He and his wife, Jenny, moved from Pella to Ottumwa, Iowa in early 2007 to begin the adventure. A core team of 25 people joined the vision, and on September 9, 2007, the first service of The Bridge was held at the Bridge View Center.
The Bridge has grown in weekly attendance over the years and a second service was added to accommodate growth in 2011. In 2014, a third service was added. In 2015, The Bridge was recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in the United States.
In addition to holding a Sunday morning gathering, The Bridge Church has sought to engage the community by serving in practical ways. Over the years this has included: painting houses, partnering with local elementary schools to give students new shoes, starting a free medical clinic, providing oil changes for single parents, and the Christmas Store (an opportunity for parents in financial need to shop for their children). The Bridge is also influencing the region by planting City Point Church in Washington, Iowa in 2015 and frequently mobilizing international mission trips.
Today, over 1,300 people attend The Bridge each week and over 100 students gather on Wednesdays for Awake. We invite you to see for yourself how exciting church can be when we chase after Jesus in an authentic, “come as you are” way.