our why

Levittown was built on the promise of the suburban-American dream. The suburbs represented the American ideals of homeownership, education, low crime and complete autonomy, a bubble of safety that more urbanized areas could no longer provide. By 1958, 70,000 people had found their way to Lower Bucks in pursuit of autonomy. 

Today, our community is filled with 3rd and 4th generation Levittowners, many still living in their childhood homes and neighborhoods; many with the principle of autonomy engrained into their thinking and behavior. Autonomy, at its heart, is self-rule and the motivation to be self-made and therefore self-rewarding. The reason this is important to us is because autonomy is principally-opposed to dependence, and dependence is at the heart of the Christian faith.

Dependent-trust on God cannot thrive in an autonomous culture which is a primary reason our culture has become post-Christian. This means, generally speaking, that our community is no longer interested in looking to the church for the answers to their greatest questions. But it does not mean those questions have stopped. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t searching out answers. It doesn’t mean that people have stopped feeling guilty and doing everything in their power to get rid of that guilt. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t adamantly searching for meaning and purpose in life. It simply means that the majority of people in our area aren’t interested in finding answers in the church. Post-Christianity is on the rise in our area because of low trust in the church. 

This is a symptom of high-autonomy. An autonomous culture will always have low trust because other-reliance, whether human or divine, isn’t valued. So when the church fails to live up to perceived standards, lost trust is a swift and immediate result. Our community feels justified in abandoning the church because the assumption is that the church is inauthentic and hypocritical, judgmental and self-righteous.

Beyond this, grace isn’t valued in highly-autonomous cultures. Grace, the unmerited gift of God, is perceived as weakness to the self-made person. Grace can only be accepted when we acknowledge and admit our own insufficiency, which rubs against the grain of autonomy. This alone may provide the reasoning for the heightened Catholic presence in Lower Bucks and the diminished Evangelical presence. 

left: religious affiliation in lower bucks

right: religious affiliation in pennsylvania

This is the reality of living in a post-Christian culture. On the outside our community appears to be full of beautiful, kind, caring, generous people. Yet the fact remains: the churches are dwindling while our community continues to search for: life, freedom, forgiveness, healing, redemption, restoration and salvation in everything and anything else.


The unfortunate reality is that many churches, both Protestant and Catholic, have failed to be locally-missional or to “grow young.” Though Levittown originally had a church in each section, many, if not most, of these churches have closed or are on their way to closing in the next ten years. What are the primary reasons? Many are aging out and not attracting younger families, many people transfer their participation to other churches thereby diminishing the previous church, though growing the new church, and many simply stop participating because of lack of trust or lack of relevance.

left: protestant church growth in the us

right: protestant church growth in levittown

What is important to remember in all of this is that just because our community has lost faith in the local church, it does not mean that their searching for answers has stopped. The local church and followers of Jesus still hold the good news of Jesus Christ as the hope of the world.


There are roughly 630,000 residents in Bucks County, 350,000 within what we would consider “our reach.”

We live within the most densely packed suburban area of Philadelphia, but historically one of the least Christian. This shouldn’t scare us. We can either see our community as a lost cause or a great opportunity. If you’re going to raise the dead, what better place to do your work than in a graveyard? 

Connecting our far-from-God community to the abundant life of Christ by building bridges has always been the missional-heart of Restoration Church. We have always been a missional congregation that cares about the irreligious, the unchurched and the post-christian. We’ve never been about catering our ministry to the already-saved but helping all understand that an integral part of being saved is to be on mission sharing the hope of our salvation with those ignorant and apathetic to it. 

It is our goal and hope that The Building Bridges campaign will help us do just that.

building bridges

A bridge is rarely built by one side of a chasm. No amount of gospel sharing, community engagement or expressions of generosity will change someone if they’re not willing to at least take a step in the direction of Jesus. But this does not dismiss our need to be intentionally creative in the bridges we build towards them. Most people in our area have given up on the church. Most people in our area have yet to give up on Jesus. This is reason to rejoice despite the challenges it presents. One of the main challenges being that the church is the primary conduit of Jesus to the world. This simply means the church as it's traditionally known and seen (the building) is often times an obstacle to someone coming to Jesus, not a help.  



Years ago, Intervarsity conducted surveys with people who had come to Christ from post-Christian environments and after hearing thousands of stories of conversions, they mapped out the common storyline which developed the “5 thresholds” for coming to Christ. It shouldn’t surprise us that if most people leave the church because of a lack of trust, regaining trust is the first threshold we need to help our community cross. 

Trust is established through relationship, which is formed when we engage our community where they are, not where we expect or even hope for them to be. Our goal cannot be a notch in a conversion-belt but rather to always be ready with an answer regarding the hope we have in Jesus Christ. This will mean getting to know our community on their terms, in neutral spaces without the threat of proselytization, conversion-conversation or bible-thumping evangelism. Trust is a long game but in the end it will create a more authentic follower of Jesus. 

Our hope to build bridges to those far from God will focus on four regions of impact based on Jesus’ instruction to be His witness where we are and bridging out from there.  


www.theguardian.com. Sept. 5, 2014. The Death of America’s Suburban Dream. 

*Data acquired from www.pewresearch.org; www.bestplaces.net & You Found Me, Rich Richardson, Intervarsity Press, 2019