So far in this series, we’ve been looking at the vision and possibilities of a neighboring movement. I don’t know about you, but I get EXCITED when I think about people coming together and seeking the good of those in their own community. Neighboring is in the spirit and DNA of Oak Cliff; just imagine what would happen if more people were intentional about the “art of neighboring.”
But before we get ahead our ourselves, it must be said: Neighboring is not easy. Just the fact that we have to talk about neighboring means that personal and cultural values oppose such efforts. Busyness, privacy, selfishness – these and other issues block the natural flow of neighboring.
Loving your neighbors and working toward real connection involves decision and energy. Therefore, over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing some “commitments” of neighboring. To connect, celebrate, and create is the goal. Consider:
Connect :: I will connect with my closest neighbors, developing a block map and moving toward relationship.
Celebrate :: I will celebrate my neighborhood, joining or helping create gatherings in my community.
Create :: I will seek God’s design for my neighborhood, praying for and creating common good projects for the benefit of all.
Neighboring may not be easy, but it is life-giving. Count the cost and make a choice to neighbor. You never know what blessings might be right next door!
For more resources on neighboring, see www.bodyoakcliff.net/neighboring
As we examine neighboring, we want to point you to key resources on the topic, and to examples of communities that are already living out these ideas.
Colorado pastors Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon have written an excellent book on Jesus’ call to take the Great Commandment seriously — and literally. Entitled The Art of Neighboring, the project was birthed out of the authors’ own experiences in learning how to build genuine relationships with those living next door. Pathak and Runyon explain not only the biblical underpinnings for loving our neighbors, but also share openly about their own successes and failures, and how they broke through personal fears and challenging circumstances to develop genuine relationships.
Map of the Denver area showing households that have committed to neighboring their communities.
A neighboring movement has spread across the Denver metro area. Since releasing their story, other areas have begun neighboring movements including cities in Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Virginia, and Northern California.
Read more about the Denver initiative in this article by the Denver Post.
Click here to order the book, or read Joel’s review to spark new ideas for your neighborhood. Also, learn more about the Denver initiative in this article by The Denver Post.
The Great Commandment is a matter of obedience to those who know and follow Jesus. We don’t love our neighbors so they will know Jesus; we love our neighbors because we already love Jesus and trust him. We are called to love our neighbors, even if our neighbors never show any interest in Jesus, because we have made Jesus our highest priority. [The Art of Neighboring, location 1233]