Ending the Year by Loving our Neighbors

How often do we put ourselves in the position to reach out to the lost? If you’re like me, you may not always think tactically about surrounding yourself with the lost. Of course, I don’t simply mean living in close proximity to people. We work with non-believers. We have unbelieving neighbors. We have friends who aren’t believers. Yet we don’t always consider ways we can surround ourselves with them in a setting that is conducive to producing deep and meaningful conversations.

This year our Community Groups were given the task to host a unique outreach event before the end of 2016. Our group discussed what to do and decided we would create Advent calendars, then distribute them to our neighbors. The activity had a threefold purpose: to meet neighbors for the first time, to invite them to our Christmas Eve and Day services, and to look for ways to connect with them around the topic and season of Christmas.

Before my wife Emma and I left to meet our neighbors, she said, “We should host something.” In all honesty, I didn’t want to. Excuses to not host an event flew through my mind. But I knew we should try. Emma came up with the idea to host a dessert party at the community pool in our apartment complex. It would be low-key and last for an hour or so. We could supply the desserts, and if people wanted they could bring items to share.

While I felt nervous, handing out Advent calendars and invited our neighbors to the dessert party, every neighbor we met was extremely friendly and showed interest in attending. When the night of our event came, one set of neighbors along with two of Emma’s co-workers and their families attended. A party we expected to last one hour ended up going on for three! The time we spent was fruitful, and as a result we expect more opportunities to occur.

After the event, Emma and I began to consider why we don’t do this more often. Our event was simple and inexpensive. It was a perfect avenue to spend time with people in an informal setting, and discuss anything.

I’ve realized that reaching out to neighbors, coworkers and friends doesn’t have to be a formal event assigned to Community Groups once per year. Reaching out to unbelievers should flow from our identities as followers of Christ. Too often I sink into the belief that my walk with Christ is defined by the number of quiet times I’ve that week, or whether I’ve prayed enough. While these disciplines are vital to our relationship with Christ, the Great Commission is central to our faith and to who we are as Christ’s ambassadors.

My desire is for my family, our Community Group, and CLC as a whole to consistently reach out to our neighbors throughout the year. Organizing an outreach event, regardless of the size, is simply one practical way to join God’s mission of making disciples.

– Matt Kindell

Posted on: January 2, 2017 - 6:05PM

Comments are closed.