Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘service’

The BIG Vision of Neighboring!

For the past two summers, I’ve had the joy of working with a local youth group and doing some leadership training and coaching.  At the beginning of our times together, I’ve sent the students out into their neighborhood with a simple question: “What kind of world would you like to live in?

How would you answer?  

The students polled a diverse group – business people on their lunch break, blue collar construction workers, mothers with their children in tow, etc.  From such a demographic you would expect a divergence of answers, but the responses were amazingly similar (and that surprised even me, and I kinda knew what I was looking for!).

Across the board, the replies described a vision of love, joy, and peace, of health and provision.  In debriefing with the students, they immediately got it – “They’re describing what Jesus and the Bible describes and promises!”  And they were right, for the respondents clearly indicated a longing for the fulfillment of the prophets, a manifestation of what Jesus said and did, and a desire for the “new heavens and new earth.” “Kingdom come” is what they wanted, even among folks that wouldn’t put it in these categories.

As a pastor and follower of Jesus, this is what I’m after.  But the question emerges, “How do we get there, how do we work toward this end?”  I’d like you to consider that the solution might be somewhat more basic than we have ever thought.

I’ve recently tapped into a network and growing movement that is taking Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor” seriously and practically.  In Denver, a group of pastors have rediscovered the “art of neighboring.”  Consider…

What if the solution to our society’s biggest issues has been right under our noses for the past two thousand years? When Jesus was asked to reduce everything in the Bible into one command he said: Love God with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself. What if he meant that we should love our actual neighbors? You know, the people who live right next door…  But the fact is, Jesus has given us a practical plan that we can actually put into practice, a plan that has the potential to change the world. The reality is, though, that the majority of Christians don’t even know the names of most of their neighbors.  [The Art of Neighboring, location 159]

It’s difficult to quantify the results of good neighboring. What we do know is that when people get to know their neighbors, good things start happening. Real relationships are formed. And these relationships make a difference. Neighbors start to work together… [And] these small acts add up to something significant. [The Art of Neighboring, location 1896]

I’m enough of a realist to recognize the limits of neighboring.  However, praying “kingdom come,” I’m also willing to hit the streets, working to get to know my neighbors.  I hope you’ll join me in answering this call.  Who knows, maybe we’ll change the world (beginning a block at a time!)


A Call to Neighboring

How well do you neighbor?  You may never have considered the question, for we traditionally have thought of “neighbor” as a noun – just the person that lives next door.  But “neighboring?”  That entails actual and meaningful engagement with those living around you, the hard work of seeking the common good of all in your neighborhood.

A “neighbor” is both the person who lives near another and one who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans.  Are you that kind of person?  Most of us would give ourselves a pat on the back in this regard.  I’m a “good neighbor!”

But, “to neighbor,” that’s all together different.  As a verb, neighboring sends us out and challenges us to really know those in our community.  Think of how different would our cities be if people actually took the time to develop relationships and really care for one another.

In the scriptures, a primary instruction of Jesus is to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”  However, the truth is many of us really don’t have any kind of meaningful relationship with those nearby.   Reasons abound – busyness, fear, neighborhood and home design, other associations – but the command remains the same!

Therefore, over the next eight weeks, BODY Oak Cliff will be exploring this issue, sharing stories and providing practical resources for engaging with your neighbors.  The initiative will be in conjunction with several Oak Cliff congregations that will be focusing their October Sunday services on the call to neighboring.

I hope you will follow the conversation and consider moving toward greater engagement with your neighbors!  Are you willing to answer the call?

(See for more resources).


Lunch & Learn | Neighbor the ‘Hood 

09.24.13 - L&L (Neighboring)

TOMORROW!!!  On September 24, join us for a community brown-bag discussion on neighboring.

Mayor Mike Rawlings’ primary GrowSouth priority is to “strengthen neighborhoods.” Considering Jesus’ call to “love your neighbors as yourself,” how can we as people of faith support his agenda by getting to know and loving the people in our community?

Tuesday, September 24 | Noon – 1:00PMs

LifePoint Church | 3203 W Davis Street, 75211 | Just east of Westmoreland

Registration begins at 11:30AM (Come & Visit!)


National Night Out Against Crime

On Tuesday, October 1, head out for the National Night Out Against Crime event from 5:00-9:00pm at the Kiest Park WPA Stone Pavilion!

National Night Out

Councilmen Dwaine Caraway (D4) and Scott Griggs (D1) are joining forces to provide a Community-wide event for area residen

ts. Many local neighborhood associations within District 4 and District 1 will be participating.

The councilmen are providing the BBQ meats and asking participating neighbors/Neighborhood Associations to bring sufficient side dishes and desserts (disposable containers and serving utensil are strongly recommended).
Bring your family and neighbors and your chairs for a lot of fun and a chance to meet new neighbors!Lots of bands, kid’s activities including bounce house, safety information, DPD and Dallas Fire Rescue, ballet folklorico, and great FOOD!

Shout, Share, Shine – A Love Oak Cliff Service Day

Shout, Share, Shine

Spring 2013

Love Oak Cliff project


Saturday, April 20 | 8am – 2pm

Meeting at Calvary Baptist Church | 1822 W 10th Street (MAP)

  • 8:00am – Orientation at Calvary Baptist
  • 8:45am – Head to projects on Delaware Ave (just south of 12th & Llewellyn)
  • 12noon – Lunch will be provided at site
  • 2:00pm – Finish up & head home!

We are working on several projects in partnership with the City of Dallas’ People Helping People program.   They provide the homes and supplies; we provide the heart and labor.

LOC Spring 2013 flyer (pdf) | LOC Spring 2013 flyer (jpg)

LOC Spring 2013 flyer