Alright, alright, alright! It’s pop quiz time!
If you can answer the following question, you will earn 10 Externally Focused bonus points (which consequently have little to no real world value…though you can cash them in for a high five if you ever bump into Brian Mavis or me).
So here it goes: What are the names (first and last) of five of your neighbors?
Take a few minutes and think about it (hint: sometimes it helps to draw a map of the houses in your neighborhood if your drawing a blank).
Alright, so how’d you do? Were you able to do it? Would you also have been able to tell me your neighbors’ professions if I asked you?
I would guess that the answer to those questions for many of you is “no.” I know it was for me several months ago when I was first introduced to the concept of neighboring.
However, I believe that EVERY Christian should be able to name their neighbors. The reason? Because I think we should all be in relationship with our neighbors. Loving your neighbor is the second greatest commandment after all, and how can we love our neighbors if we don’t know them?
The sad thing is that I had no idea who my neighbors were just a few months ago. I fell flat on my face when I was asked this queston. I would wager that many of you did too.
The good news is it’s easy to get to know your neighbors, regardless of how you did with this quiz. It’s as simple as walking across the street to introduce yourself when you take out the trash or inviting them over to watch a football game on Sunday afternoon.
It doesn’t have to be hard nor do you have to become best friends. However, until we start getting to know our neighbors and building relational equity, how in the world can we hope to share the Gospel?
As Allen Hirsch says, “The gospel is transmitted along relational lines.” I believe the first part of living missionally is learning to live relationally. For more resources on easy ways to do this in your neighborhood and city, check out the Verge Network (it’s one of my favorites).
So what do you think? How are you going to practically build relationships with your neighbors?