What Does “Neighboring” Look Like?

A Snap Shot of an Evening in the Neighborhood

All times are approximate.

Home at 5:30 PM: Out for a brief bike ride, 22 minutes, 6 miles. Stop at High School gym to look in on a girls Volleyball game. One of our families has a daughter on the team. It’s a chance to sit with them, encourage their daughter and connect with others in the community. Varsity game not till 7:15 PM.

Watseka High School
Watseka High School Looking East

6:15 PM:  Continue on the Heritage Woods, an adult living center less than a quarter mile from both my house and the H.S. Talk to the nurse on call about inviting residents to be our quests for the Thursday afternoon taping of the weekly sermon. The thought is that it will give the residents some time out of the facility, allow us to expand the ministry of the word, and the larger audience will help me to preach with more energy. Good conversation and a phone number to call to coordinate.

Heritage Woods, entrance6:25 PM:  As I leave Heritage Woods, a dozen residents are sitting outside waiting for the fancy car Tuesday night ride through (A once a month club that gives our town something to celebrate together.) It’s fun, free and get’s people out talking and fellowshipping together.  I interact with them for under 10 minutes. Smiles all around. Me: “What’s your favorite car?” Them: “What church are you from?” We swap a few stories and then I part with, “Enjoy the cars, enjoy being out together, and most of all, enjoy the Lord.” To which two say, “amen” and all smile. Back to the house for a quick shower and a bite to eat.

7:05 PM:  Give my wife a kiss and then it’s back to the High School to watch the game. On my way out I give a wave to a neighbor who is out playing with his son in the front yard. We talked yesterday and the wave affirms a growing friendship.

7:10 PM:  Great match. Our girls win the first game, and then lose two hard-fought and close games to lose the match. But we’re proud of them. The school they compete against is much larger and the girls battle hard. I have a good time with the family and eat an extra bag of popcorn.

8:30 PM:  Walk home praying for the contacts made, the relationships affirmed, the witness given, and the doors that will open up in the future as a result of a simple 2.5 hour investment.

Principles and Lessons:

  • Sometimes “neighboring” is simply showing up and seeing what God does in the present and trusting Him with the future.
  • Anybody can do this.
  • This is only a start, but God uses “starts” to change the world.

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