Wednesday, March 12, 2014

7 More Ways to Reach Out To Your Community

Here are a few more ways you can reach out to people in your neighborhood and be a witness for Christ in the process. These ways focus on building relationships with your neighbors. Most people today come to church or listen to the Gospel because of a relationship: someone reaches out to them in friendship. They won't care how much you know about the Lord until they know how much you care about them!

:: Chat over the fence. Seriously! Ladies used to get to know each other as they worked in the yard or hung laundry on the clothesline. If you see your neighbor outside working, mosey out for a little friendly chat. Just be friendly!

:: Offer your neighbor a service. Offer to help with yard work, car repairs, or home repairs. Offer your washer when hers breaks down. Shovel the driveway when it snows (great help to a single mom or senior!). If you're running errands, see if there's something you can pick up for her. Buy the kids an ice cream when the ice cream truck comes down your street. Fix a pot of soup if someone is sick. Find little things you can do to be a blessing, expecting nothing in return. 

:: Offer a Bible study. If your neighbor expresses an interest in spiritual things, offer to have a one-on-one Bible study with her. She may be very open to that idea, especially if it relates to something relevant in her life such as motherhood or balancing life's roles. One study that we've used simply establishes the truth and authority of the Bible, then explains the origin of sin and how God has offered to forgive our sin. It's very simple but thorough, and we've seen several people saved as a result of this study. Wes has used it for anyone who expresses an interest in spiritual things, and most people have been open to learning about the Bible.

:: Have a neighborhood barbeque. We've seen this work well for churches, and I think it would work well for a neighborhood too. Buy some hot dogs and buns and invite the neighbors to come over. Keep it all outside if you're not comfortable having people in your house.

:: Host a backyard Bible club during the summer. Get a series of lessons (ask your pastor for recommendations), buy some fruit snacks and bottles of water, and have a little mini VBS in your back yard! Building relationships with children is a good way to get to know their parents. Many people will allow their children to attend as long as it's outside and with a large group. Take care not to take any child alone with you into your house - let them run home to go to the bathroom!

 :: Have a holiday open house. At Christmas, fix some appetizers, decorate the house, and invite your neighbors over for a drop-in open house. We do this for our church family every year, and several times we've invited our landlord and/or the tenant in the basement suite of our house (a very common arrangement here). They've always expressed appreciation for the invitation, and a few times they have come. Our people have been very friendly to them, and although we haven't seen any spiritual fruit from it, there's a relationship established.

:: Elf your neighbors. I know that doesn't sound very nice, but it's fun! This is usually done at Christmas, but you could do it anytime of the year. Make up some gifts for your neighbors, such as cinnamon rolls or cookies, wrap them up nicely, and deliver them to their homes with a little note wishing them well. You could include a tract or some sort of church information in the packaging. This is also a nice thing to do for community servants - police, fire fighters, etc. I've never heard any complaints about receiving fresh-baked cookies!

Have you reached out to the people on your street? 
What are some ways that you've tried to develop relationships with those around you?

photo credit: Design By Zouny via photopin cc

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