Not so long ago, neighbors generally kept their doors open to one another. Smaller houses seemed less confining, because the more porous divisions between homes - separated not by doors of wood or steel but by “screen doors” - encouraged socializing with neighbors.
An essential ingredient in community formation is dying out: the strong relational ties that are built when we let our guard down with each other, when we claim common space as an appropriate forum for conversation, play, and eating. (Sweet, 85)
I used to think hospitality was a lost art. Now I’m convinced it is a lost heart. - Leonard Sweet
We want to introduce you to the possibility of leading your church to build bridges with hospitality - from member’s homes to their neighbors.
These bridges are the next step in the ongoing, and pandemic-driven shift from a facility-focused ministry to one based in people’s homes.
Why not encourage and equip your members to BE the church in their neighborhoods TODAY, instead of asking them to BRING their neighbors to church at a “safer” time in an unknown future?
On Thursday, August 13, Bob Adams hosted a free webinar entitled, How to Help Your Church Live SENT in the Place They Call Home. The focus was on learning about the spaces, places, and graces that will help your church become bridge builders to their neighbors.
The search for community is a fundamental life search. We need to belong. We search with some increasing desperation as terms such as “neighbor,” “family,” and “congregation” are being redefined. People are searching to belong in new places and through new experiences.
But the reality is that “belonging” is multidimensional; people belong to each other on different levels.
Author Joseph Myers believes that we relate differently with others depending on the environment or space we’re in. There are four distinct spaces or environments in which humans related differently to one another. These concepts of space also apply to the conversation about belonging.
Because we are citizens of God’s Kingdom, we need to be the best possible citizens of ____________________________ (fill in where you live). This lifestyle may be inconvenient, because “Christ-likeness” is inconvenient in our culture and society today.
Why do this? What’s the point? If our cities, towns, and suburbs don’t know God, we need to make the introductions. God is ready to use every part of where you live - your home, your daily and regular schedules, and the love that dwells within you.
How do we do this?
According to author Shauna Pilgreen, we can do this best when we see our corner of the world in three different orientations.
Are you ready to be a better neighbor?
It’s time to get practical and take intentional steps from just being a nice neighbor - one who never bothers anyone - to an engaged neighbor who is motivated by love to act in love.
According to Pastor Ramin Razavi, “The reality is that nice falls in the middle of the affection spectrum. It’s not mean or disagreeable or awful, but it’s definitely not what Jesus did toward us. Nice neighboring is not enough. Loving God and our neighbors, as Jesus modeled love, means sacrifice.”
Pastors and authors Rick Rusaw and Brian Mavis developed four principles that challenge us to be better neighbors, because love, by Jesus’ definition, is action, not a feeling.
More Building Bridges to Your Neighbors helps and tools coming!
> Special upcoming SUMS Remix topics
- How can I help my church understand who their neighbors are? (8/12)
- How can our members best reach out to their neighbors? (8/26)
> Subscribe to SUMS Remix here
> TeamUP eBook - Bringing Hospitality Home - released August 31