Ministering in the Community of Neighbors

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From an early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of being a good neighbor.  Always be willing to help, offer to mow your neighbor’s lawn if they’re out of town, and return borrowed tools in better condition than when you got them. And all of that was nice, but Jesus calls us to do more. He calls us to LOVE our neighbors.

Mark 12:30-31 says, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

Jesus put loving your neighbor right up there with loving God. It’s THAT important. So how do we move beyond just being a “good” neighbor and into being a Christ-like neighbor? How do we live out our faith in our neighborhoods… especially if we’ve been living in the area for a long time and NOBODY even knows we’re a Christ-follower?

Some time ago, Martha and I moved into a neighborhood of 30 townhomes. It was an incredible area, filled with people from all over the world. One of the first things we did after moving in was simply to pay attention. We worked to learn everyone’s names and cars. Then, when there was an opportunity to help them out, we rushed in, and in October of 2004, we had just the opportunity. Four major hurricanes hit Florida that year, and three of them affected our neighborhood. The wind ripped the siding off and shredded the roofs in places, and to make it worse, we all had HUGE deductibles for wind damage. So, I got together a group of guys to help the neighbors fix roofing and siding. It was the perfect opportunity to serve and get to know so many people living around us. After that, we made an intentional effort to invite people over for a meal, and every New Year’s Eve, we planned a get-together for our neighbors. And last but not least, our neighborhood was haunted by a power-hungry association that fostered a culture of division and frustration. So, when the opportunity came to elect a new association president, Martha agreed to it. She served in this role for ten years and had an enormous cultural influence on our area.

These small but intentional steps gave us countless opportunities to love and pray with our neighbors. The day we moved away to be closer to Martha’s folks, we wept all the way to our new house. It was a bittersweet ending to an amazing 18 years, and everyone in the neighborhood knew they could count on us to help, to host, and to pray.

What about you? Do you have a plan for impacting your neighbors with your faith? We wrote iWork4Him: Change the Way You Think About Faith and Work to help people just like you live out their faith in EVERY area of life – whether it’s their office, job site, or community. God’s purpose and God’s will for your life are being carried out right where you are through loving your neighbors. For more ideas on how to minister in your sphere of influence, pick up a copy of iWork4Him. Oh, and did I mention that you can download the first chapter for FREE?! Just CLICK HERE.

About the Author, Jim Brangenberg

Jim’s Mission: We are called to be examples of Christ to those around us. With that in mind, Jim is passionate about helping Christ followers connect their faith to their work!


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Used with permission from Jim Brangenberg.

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