There are certain things in life that are unwise to enter into without a lot of thought and prayer—marriage, job changes, choosing a college, starting a family—these are the kind of things that need a lot of thought.
Outreach to your neighbors, generally, falls into another category. The category of “things done in the spur of the moment” and with a more quick and dirty approach. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to engage a neighbor with kindness.
When it comes to building community and caring for your neighbors, don’t over-think.
Bill Hybels might say, “WALK ACROSS THE STREET.” (Walk Across the Room)
Invite someone into your home this week. Set a goal to invite someone by the end of the month. Do something with a non-Christian. Serve them. Care for them. Pray for them (This last idea is good, but too easy and non-interactive).
Initiate with a neighbor. A cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. A pie, pie and ice cream. A meal. Have them over for soup. How about soup and a movie at your house? Invite them to watch the game with you.
- Keep a rake at the ready so you can help with Fall leaves.
- Make a batch of cookies and surprise them with it.
- Buy some hotdogs, roll out your grill and invite the neighborhood to your driveway or backyard for an impromptu hotdog party. So what if all you have with is it ketchup and mustard.
- Your neighbor is cleaning something. Join them.
- You’re an empty nester? Find another one and tell them, “It’s always more fun to cook for three or four. Why don’t you join us tomorrow night for dinner?”
- Someone is putting up Christmas lights. Get dressed warm and go help them (even if it means yours don’t get up on time). You can hold a ladder, can’t you?
- Your neighbor’s child just received an award. Celebrate with them in some way.
- Make a cake and give it away.
- Send them a celebration card.
- Cookies are always good.
- Your neighbor had a baby. Take them a meal. Send them a card. Give them a gift card for dinner out. Offer to babysit in 6 months when things settle down in their home a bit.
Just don’t over-think it.
Ask them if you can pray for them. Tell them you are praying for them. Babysit for them. Do something with a neighbor.
For the glory of Christ and the joy your neighbor, just do it.
Don’t over-think it.
Just do it.
5 thoughts on “Don’t Over Think Your Outreach”
Great counsel. Don’t overthink it, just do it. One time out of 50 it may be a mistake, but the other 49 a good thing to do. Thanks for putting it so well and clearly.
And the one time it is a mistake, is easily covered by an apology and a smile, coupled with a life that remains credible.
Seems to me you are talking about servant evangelism.
I’m talking about the church being the church.