The Good Neighbor: Be the Neighbor Everyone Wants to Live By
In the midst of these uncertain times with indoor church services still restricted and people staying more local, many are experiencing a feeling of isolation. Some are finding their future uncertain, including job concerns and financial insecurity. As we continue to face an onslaught of media news regarding COVID-19, racial and political tensions, as well as natural disasters, fear and insecurity are affecting many people across our state, country and around the globe. Even so, Shoreline Church isn’t on pause, we are on mission! We know the source of peace and comfort in the midst of any storm is through our faith in Jesus. So let’s be an example of love and kindness and where appropriate, bring the Gospel message of peace to our neighbors in new and creative ways!
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-39: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Wait, Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor? Pause for just a moment and reflect on this: Do you really love your neighbor as yourself?
The reality is we all have neighbors–whether they live next door or are in our broader circle of influence. Outreach to our neighbors can be simple connections in many different ways, and could even develop into lifelong friendships. God has placed you in the location where you currently live for such a time as this. He has uniquely equipped each of us to serve one another according to His timing and purpose. We all have neighbors, and guess what, many of them are home! Our job as Christians, now more than ever, is to connect with our neighbors in creative ways to show them the love of Jesus.Join our church and challenge yourself to be the neighbor that everyone wants to live near: The Good Neighbor!
Good Neighbor Christmas Challenge
This Christmas is going to be different and perhaps the only one like it in your lifetime. You have one thing in common with all your neighbors, COVID! Everyone is affected in slightly different ways, but there is something different about the way we are all currently living life. The constant we have as believers is Jesus! Pastor Kevin has challenged us to make this the best Christmas ever and here are a few ways you can do that with your neighbors this Christmas Season:
Will you commit to pray for your neighbors? Whether it is the neighbor to the right and left of you or your block or apartment building, you can pray that God will show up in a special way.
What can you give to your neighborhood? It could be as simple as bringing a plate of cookies, a sealed baked good, or a Christmas card. Christmas cards still have an incredible value as you have a little opportunity to bring Christmas into someone’s home and even bring the hope of joy! Whether it’s reaching out to a neighbor, getting in touch with an old friend, or inviting someone to church either virtually or an invitation to join you in your home, there are plenty of ways to give this Christmas.
Get out there and check in with your neighbors. Ask them how they are doing and if there is anything you can do for them. Bring them something or offer to bring them something from the store.
Shoreline Church loves this community, neighbors, and neighborhoods and hope that you do as well. Christmas 2020 will be different and we encourage you to love those around you in fun and creative ways and in so doing love this community.
During this time, we are continuing to help you bring life to your neighborhood and grow greater connections with your neighbors. These simple steps will encourage believers from the timid to the outgoing. If you follow these 6 steps, you will find it easy to have a positive impact, and develop meaningful relationships in your neighborhood.
Join us and churches around the world as we strive together to be The Good Neighbor.
In this step you are going to think through the people who live around you. Who do you know? Is there anyone that you know well? Who don’t you know? Make a list and fill it in accordingly. Whether you are on a shared driveway, neighborhood subdivision, or in an apartment, you can do this with a little creativity. Fill in the personal information you already know about your neighbors including their names, kids and pets names (if applicable) and contact info. Do you know their occupations or hobbies?
If you already know the neighbors within a few houses, make your circle larger.
- Pray for great relationships with your neighbors.
- Pray that God will open your heart and mind for creative ways to connect with your neighbors.
- Begin creating a list of your neighbors names and contact information.
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G.Harney, Chapter 6: The Unseen Work–Praying for People
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G.Harney, Chapter 1: The Law of Love
In this step we are going out to meet our neighbors. For some of them, it will be a familiar face and conversation with a friend as you get caught up on life. For others, it might be the first time you have spoken. First, start with prayer for your outing. Ask God to help you have meaningful and productive talks. Pray that you have an attitude and heart of love, compassion, and service. Pray for the neighbors that you already know and for those who you are about to meet.
Review your neighborhood contact list and head out. Here is an example of a potential connection:
- Ring the doorbell and step back at least 6 feet,
- Introduce yourself and where you live.
- Ask how they are doing during the shelter in place and try to determine what needs they may have,
- Ask how their family is doing (if applicable),
- Ask if they need anything that you could help provide,
- If you’re uncomfortable with this, start small. Check in with someone you already know and expand from there,
- If someone is not home, try again tomorrow and if someone is still not home, you could leave a note similar to this:
My name is _____ and I live at 123 Pine Street. I just wanted to check in and see how you and your family are doing during shelter in place? Is there anything I can help you with? Also, would you text me your contact info? I am collecting all of our neighbors emails and phone numbers so we can be better connected in case of an emergency or just for a general need. Be sure to include your contact information so they can reach out to you.
- Ask what your neighbors’ preferred way of communication is and if it is ok to check in with them (Phone, Text or Email)
As you collect the missing contacts and pieces of personal information, you may want to consider sharing this with the other neighbors so you can make a neighborhood emergency roster or maybe a neighborhood group text is more appropriate (But only share the information of those who say they are comfortable with you doing this). Like a neighborhood HOA or watch group, having a current list of neighbors and their contact info is very helpful for everything from a cup of milk to an emergency. It also helps neighbors feel more connected. When your list is complete, print it and post it in a location where you can see it often. If you are not able to print it, make a handwritten list. Try to get to know your neighbors names and pray for each person on the list by name this week.
Actions of Step 2:
- Have a conversation with your neighbor.
- Pray for each neighbor everyday this week by name.
- Fill in the final details of your neighborhood list.
- Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. Harney and Sherry Harney, Chapter 11: Connecting in Organic Ways
- Children’s Conversation Starters →
- Multi Subject Conversation Starters →
In this step we are going to connect with each neighbor on our newly created neighborhood list and check in with them in whatever manner we are most comfortable. Reflect on what they have told you about their situation and think of ways you could encourage, help, or bless them. Maybe you could bring over fresh baked goods. Perhaps you could help wheel in their trash cans. You might offer to pick some items for them at the store. Maybe you could lend them a puzzle or game they might enjoy. You get the picture. Doing something simple goes a long way towards developing a friendship.
Actions of Step 3:
- Use your neighbors preferred way of communication to check in with them.
- Pray for each neighbor by name everyday this week.
- Do an “Act of Kindness” for your neighbors – be creative and have fun.
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G. Harney, Chapter 5: Everyone Plays
Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. Harney and Sherry Harney, Chapter 9: Lighthouse Homes
In this step we want to think of a new way you can connect with your neighbor. If you have only been texting them, give them a call or vice versa. Zoom, Google Meets, and perhaps FaceTime (if you know they have an iPhone) can be a fun new way to check in. Perhaps you can offer to chat in their driveway at the appropriate distance. They may want to get out of the house and walk. You might even have a chance to help your neighbor learn to become more proficient with new technology as a form of communication.
Actions of Step 4:
- Use a new way of communication to check in with your neighbors.
- Pray for each neighbor by name everyday this week.
- Continue learning the names of your neighbors and find out more about them to continue growing your relationship.
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G.Harney, Chapter 8: Incarnational Living
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G. Harney, Chapter 9: Try Something
Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. Harney and Sherry Harney, Chapter 9: The Home as a place of Prayer
Here is where we hope to have spiritual conversation with your neighbors. The key for this to be successful is to determine where your relationship is with your neighbor and don’t rush to this step. For some of your neighbors, it might take time to get to this point of conversational intimacy. Follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting. A simple question like asking about their church background or religious experience may lead to a deeper discussion. You will see links to great conversation starters at the end of this step that include questions that can help enter into a conversation about God.You could also ask for ways you can specifically pray for them that week. If you feel the conversation is open to spiritual insights, go for it! You have been praying for this moment for some time now and it will be exciting.
Actions of Step 5:
- Check in with neighbors using their preferred way of communication.
- During your conversation (if prompted by the Holy Spirit) try to dig a little deeper into their spiritual well being. See where the conversation leads you.
- Just like each of the prior steps, we are to pray for each neighbor everyday this week by name and especially if they have given you specific prayer requests.
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G. Harney, Chapter 11: Engaging in Spiritual Conversations
In this final step you are going to revise your neighborhood roster and see if you can expand it or fill in more details that you learned about them from the prior 5 steps. You are going to reevaluate where you are on each step with your neighbors and see how you can keep taking steps forward. It’s okay if one or more of your neighbors does not progress much past step 4. Many may stay at step 3 for quite some time.
Actions of Step 6:
- Check-in and get updated prayer requests (If applicable).
- Pray for each neighbor everyday this week by name and for any prayer requests.
- Pray that God will continue to unite your neighborhood in love.
- Pray that you will be The Good Neighbor to those who live by you.
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G. Harney, Chapter 2: Becoming Grace Bearers
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G. Harney, Chapter 9: Praying With People
Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. Harney and Sherry Harney, Chapter 12: Overcoming Outreach Challenges
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G. Harney, Chapter 12: Telling Your Story
Organic Outreach for Ordinary People by Kevin G. Harney, Chapter 13: Sharing Good News
Our hope is that during this challenging time, you will begin to develop a friendships with your neighbors. With safety precautions in place, consider inviting them over for dinner or even hosting a neighborhood BBQ as you continue to develop the connections you have made. As always, the end goal is to help them see the love of Jesus in you, through you and hopefully, one day, in them. As you know, this doesn’t just happen on its own, you need to intentionally develop connections with your neighbors and over time, they could grow into deep and meaningful friendships.
Would you please share your stories with us to encourage others to get involved? Tag us @shorelinemonterey #beagoodneighbor