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Neighborhood Evangelism

You peek through the front window. The coast is clear. You rush your trash can out to the street, and power walk back as fast as you can. You're busy! You're already behind on your to-do list, and Neighbor Nelly will talk your ear off if she catches you...

So often this has been my habit at home, and I suspect I'm not the only one. And yet, the godly example of neighborhood evangelism from Lakeside Members has challenged me to change my ways.

Every city or county has gathering places where strangers come together to form bonds of friendship and honest conversation (see John 4 & Acts 17). In our area, I believe the most common gathering place is our neighborhood. Del Webb, River Hills, and Heather Glen are not just locations, but truly are communities. So, how do we proclaim the excellencies of King Jesus in these communities?

Know and Be Known

For some this comes naturally, for other introverted neighbors like myself, this takes work. But it should still be natural and enjoyable. Ask yourself, "What do I like to do? How could I bring a neighbor into that hobby or habit?" Here are some potential examples from Lakeside members:

  • Walk your dog (or in my case, your toddler) and greet the neighbors you see and pray for the neighbors you don't see

  • For closed off neighbors, find culturally acceptable ways to knock on their door (ex. bringing baked bread or cookies, personally returning a ball or mixed-up mail, trick-or-treating, or Christmas caroling)

  • Offer and ask for help on yardwork or housework

  • Find active hobbies together:

    • Golf

    • Bike Riding

    • Workouts

    • Pickleball!!

  • Dare I say it... go to an HOA meeting

  • Have neighbors over for dinner

  • Host a Game Night, a Barbeque, a Baby Shower, or a Chili Cookoff

As you do these things, remember their names (I created a google doc to help me), genuinely take an interest in them and enjoy their company, rejoice in their joys and grieve over their sorrows, demonstrate the love and righteousness of Christ, and lastly, don't shy away from being honest about your love for Christ and his church.

Major on the Messiah

But our goal is not simply to show kindness to our neighbors, but ultimately to tell them of the glorious king and savior, Jesus. As Matt communicated earlier this month, our motivation and goal in evangelism must be the glory of Christ. Similarly, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2, "And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." After reading this passage a man in my discipleship group said, "that's what I am going to focus on with my unbelieving neighbor", and he was exactly right.

We must major on the messiah with our neighbors. Don't get distracted with lesser questions related to the age of the earth or your denomination distinctives. Keep coming back to Jesus. Ask them what they believe about Jesus, tell them what the Bible says about him, or about what you have been learning about him.

And the best way for neighbors to see the glory of Jesus is through the pages of Scripture. Two wonderful examples of how Lakeside members have connected their neighbors with Christ in the scriptures are through inviting them to church or starting a neighborhood Bible study. These members are not following a complicated sales strategy, but simply are letting the powerful truth of Scripture speak for itself. And when we read it correctly, the glory of King Jesus is seen from Genesis to Revelation, and his gospel message is the power of God for salvation.

Take a Small Step Across the Street

In my experience, if you don't pray and plan, you won't ever have gospel opportunities or friendships with your neighbors. So even if you don't have a ton of time or are incredibly shy, for the glory of King Jesus, take a small step towards your neighbors this month. Whether you are on a walk, working on your yard, or yes, even taking out the trash, you can glorify God by building a friendship with your neighbors so that you can proclaim the excellencies of Christ.

May God use our efforts to change hearts, change households, and change neighborhoods with the message of the gospel!

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