Grace Smith | Broadcast Reporter
A well known Waco church service was left without a home due to the I-35 construction until Magnolia graciously offered to host their Sunday service. What started off as a simple act of inviting the homeless to breakfast, turned into what is now Church Under the Bridge. The church welcomes anyone and everyone and has been doing so for almost 30 years.
“That’s really the beginning. [Attendees] started calling it Church Under The Bridge. It really came out of their request to us to come and be a part of their lives,” Jimmy Dorrell, Senior Pastor, said. “It kept growing and our attitude in terms of our model of ministry is that we don’t go fix people, we don’t do for people, we do with people.”
About 250 people attend every Sunday. However, plans of reconstructing the I-35 bridge forced them to find a temporary home.
“The Department of Transportation called us and said they’re going to have to move us out for a couple of years while they work on the bridge,” Dorrell said. “They liked us and were all for us, saying that they hated to move us out.”
Dorrell said they had no idea what to do, until Chip and Joana Gains, the founders of Magnolia, stepped in and provided them with a place to have their Sunday services.
“Part two of the story is that we have been there now since last March; It has been a great transition,” Dorrell said. “It is a lot quieter and people can hear better. We had to make a few changes in the way we do things, but not much.”
Even though it is a drastically different venue, the fellowship is still the same.
“I’ve met a lot more people, a lot of good people, who are sincere and honest,” Rodger, who attends Church Under the Bridge weekly, said. “Everyone is the same, no one is different, no one is better than anyone else here. I don’t care if you went to Baylor or if you are rich — everyone is the same.”
“We always want to be a church that is inclusive of the people and the gifts God gave them,” said Dorrell.