We all know this Scripture from Mark 12, and we’re good at applying it to our “neighbor”…the people we go to church with, the people we enjoy being around, the people our kids spend time around. But do you actually apply it to your NEIGHBOR? As in….your literal neighbor? Often we get caught up in going to do ministry that we miss the people we pass by every day on our own street. Here’s a few fresh ideas for seizing those opportunities.
- Know them. Make a grid with nine boxes…put your family name in the center box to represent your home. Now, fill in the names around your box of the neighbors in each house (next door, in front and behind, etc). Don’t know their names? Be intentional to find out and get to know them. Take time to pray for them by name every week!
- Serve them. Help them carry in a large item when you see they’ve come home with something new and need a hand. Surprise them by mowing their lawn, shoveling snow from their driveway, clearing ice off their car.
- Pay Attention. Do they have a new baby? A family member pass away? A child graduating? Be aware of the unusual seasons of life and take a gift or offer assistance in these challenging times.
- Be a Safe Place. Do they have small children? Get to know the family enough that their kids would feel safe coming to your house in an emergency or if they accidentally get locked out.
- Invite them. It’s easy to forget to invite these people we see every day into our church family. Invite them to your small group, Sunday worship service or special event happening in your church.
- Befriend them. The best way to get to know your neighbors is to do something with them. Throw a neighborhood cookout and invite all the neighbors to come hang out.
- Use Holiday Fever. Throw a Christmas open house. A Fourth of July party. An Easter egg hunt. A New Year’s day lunch. A Halloween party. A National Pancake Day Celebration. Choose your day to celebrate and optimize on the holiday to bring people together.
Whatever you do, make it your goal to KNOW your neighbors so you have the ability to love them as yourself…just like Jesus commands.