My husband and I recently bought our first house, and for the first time in six years of marriage, we have neighbors! We have loved the views and the peace of the little farmhouse that we have been blessed to call home for the early years of our family, but we are so excited to raise our boys in community. Not only does living in a neighborhood provide so many opportunities for friendship and memory-making, but it gives an incredible opportunity to live out the gospel.
Scripture is filled with the theme of being a good neighbor. Jesus often talked of loving our neighbors both as a command (Matthew 22:39) and in His parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
Being a good neighbor is a concept that transcends generations and cultures, and it is one of the most organic ways to spread the gospel and the love of Jesus.
There is no better place to impact others with the love of Jesus than the place that He has planted you.
How can you intentionally live out the gospel among your neighbors?
Prayer Walk your Neighborhood
Set a weekly time to walk your neighborhood and pray over it. Do this as a family, or invite other believers to join you in it. As you encounter others on your walk, ask them how you can pray for them. Find the shut-ins, and pray for the needs that they may have. As you routinely do this, the Holy Spirit will begin to open doors for you to go deeper with the needs of your community.
Host Neighborhood Gatherings
Hospitality is a doorway to the gospel for many that would be closed off to the idea of church. Inviting neighbors into your home for Taco Tuesday or a potluck is a great way to go deeper with people. If you want to connect with your neighbors on a larger scale, host an event in your yard for others to join. Host street dinner potlucks where everyone brings lawn chairs and eats together, or have a cookout and invite the neighborhood. Block parties and holiday gatherings can also be excellent ways to connect with other families.
Do Life Together and Meet Each Other’s Needs
The early church of Acts seems foreign to many of us living in the independence-driven American culture. Many of our churches are large and we often find ourselves craving true community like we read about in Scripture. While there are many venues such as small groups in churches that can fill that need, our neighborhoods are also a crucial piece to living in community.
Offer to trade off babysitting with a neighbor so that you both can have a free date night each month. Bring dinner to the foster family that has their hands full once a month. Visit your shut-in neighbor and offer to help with yard work of simple tasks such as changing lightbulbs. Above all, just know the people around you and how you can pray for them.
I truly believe that Jesus chose to discuss being a neighbor so frequently because He knew the power of community. He knew that the Gospel would be spread through people being intentional and loving those right where they were planted. How do you engage your neighbors with the love of Jesus? I would love for you to share.
Keep Serving Him,