Next week our Love Your Neighbor activity is going to be an “on your own” activity. There is freedom to tailor it to your particular neighborhood and family, but with some basic requirements.

Seems a little more abrasive than Jesus, but you get the idea....

Learn the names of your neighbors in 4 more houses in your neighborhood.
This is the minimum that everyone should do. Find a way to meet them. Here are some ideas for how to do that more naturally (i.e., reasons to knock on their door so you don’t seem as creepy as you actually are…):

1. Invite your neighbors over for dinner. If you’re going to connect with four neighbors, this activity will probably take you beyond next week. But at least see if you can learn the names and give the invitation.

2. Host a neighborhood event, like a coffee and dessert night. You might be able to get a neighbor to help you. A couple hours on one night makes this option a little more efficient, plus it allows the neighbors to connect with each other as well. Don’t plan much more than informal socializing, maybe a quick ice breaker or conversation to get to know each other, then see if everyone would be willing to exchange information.

3. Ask for donations to the Hope Center. You could come by with a plastic bag, leave it with them for a few days, then retrieve it later. Let them know that whenever they would like to donate, you’d be happy to collect. The blue barrel in Emmanuel’s lobby is designated for those donations.

4. Offer to pray for them. Few people will actually refuse this, and it will give you a reason to follow up with them later. And all of these strategies are meant to encourage the beginning of a relationship, so they should all lead to other conversations. But especially if you are going to pray for them, please follow up a few days later to check in. The offer to pray shows a commitment to prayer. The follow up shows a commitment to them.

5. Look for ways to help your neighbors and offer your time. It might be a bit awkward to say, “Your house looks like crap, and I think it’s hurting my property values.” But maybe someone would be encouraged to know they could have help for a small project, especially any elderly or single moms in your neighborhood.

I recently heard Max Lucado say in a sermon, “Isn’t compassion our best apologetic? It’s hard to argue with compassion.”