I am living out the gospel by loving and connecting with my neighbors.
From the moment I know I am moving somewhere I start praying for my neighbors-to-be. I pray God would move in their hearts, they would have ears to hear and eyes to see, their lives would be better because we moved to the neighborhood, and God would give us favor with them. I pray for the other believers in our neighborhood to have a heart, vision, passion, and compassion for their neighbors as well. I beg for God’s powerful hand to sweep across my neighborhood that His goodness may be seen and known by all who live here. And I am ever impelled to pray more.
While I pray, I also believe that to love is often to do. The first thing I do when I move somewhere is to write our names, numbers, and email addresses on a notecard and take it to all adjacent neighbors, neighbors we have met, and those we appear to have a natural connections with (e.g. kids the same age). See, I do not wait for them to bring me a welcome to the neighborhood cake, I go to them.
Here are some other ways to connect with and love your neighbors:
-Use your front porch. Don’t have one? Make one! We can’t drink coffee on our “front porch” for fifteen minutes without a neighbor stopping to visit.
-In an apartment? Prop your door open while you are cooking and see who pops in. Sometimes it is an unleashed dog, but before long comes their owner as well.
-Choose sports and activities based on proximity to your home. Having activities close to home creates endless opportunities to invite neighbors to do what you are doing.
-Pick a day a week to be home so you can share life with your neighbors. Its really hard to love and ultimately share Christ with people you are never around.
-Don’t park in your garage. I know this is sacrilege to my fellow car people, but take a moment to think opportunities over shiny car finish. How many times a year getting in and out of your car are you missing natural run-ins with your neighbors because you park in a garage?
-Throw a party. Not your gift? Me either, but do it anyway. Romans 12:13 tells us to practice hospitality, so be obedient. The great thing about practice is the more your do it, the better you get at it. Here are some inspired ideas I’ve swiped from intentional friends of mine.
-Weekly football party for the local team.
-Movie projected on the outside wall of the house.
-Block party potluck planned the morning of with kids dispersed to invite all the neighbors.
-Welcome to the neighborhood party for a new neighbor.
-Be needy. Instead of running to the store for the egg you are missing for your recipe, knock on doors until you find someone who has one. Don’t worry, they’ll return the favor.