Playing in her yard, little Paula loved hearing the music at the church next door. She often peeked through the fence to watch happy people going inside. One day, a woman noticed her behind the fence and asked, “Do you want to go to church with us?” It was the happiest day of her childhood! Paula’s entire family came to know Jesus as Savior because of that invitation. (I’m so glad, because years later she became my friend.)
Is it possible for someone to live within walking distance of your church, but not be influenced for Christ?
Here’s a challenge for your small group or church. Choose a block of homes or apartments nearby, then make a plan to know and invite each person who lives there. Here’s how:
Chart the block. Blitz your block one Sunday. Deliver a Bible or plant to each home. Meet them. Learn names. Be a friend. Pray for them.
See needs, meet needs. Mow an overgrown lot. Paint a decaying home. Build a ramp for an elderly neighbor. Show God’s love tangibly.
Personally invite neighbors. Welcome them inside your church for worship, Wednesday dinner, Easter celebration, kids event, or Bible study. Meet them there.
Remind neighbors they are welcome. Use outdoor banners, signs, or sidewalk chalk art.
Consider their needs. Plan an exercise group, benevolence, community garden, GED; a class or event for young professionals, parents, immigrants, singles, kids, married couples. Invite them.
Share the facilities. Share your church gym, playground, library, basketball goals, or walking track.
Host a coffee. Personally deliver invitations, serve snacks, provide nametags, and get to know guests.
Participate. If there’s a neighborhood event, go. If there’s a neighborhood newsletter, advertise in it. If there’s a neighborhood crisis, be the first to serve. Show God’s love.
Last Sunday, Suzie was telling our small group about the senior care center being constructed next to our church property. “Some folks there won’t know Jesus,” she exclaimed. “We’ve got to do something!” There is our mission field.
Diana Davis’ new book is Across the Street and Around the World (New Hope Publishers, 2016).