Picking up from the Last post (Spheres of Influence), here is one example of taking a look at where do you live as a sphere of influence:
This example comes from Bill Tenny-Brittian, Hitchhiker’s Guide To Evangelism
I was a church planter launching a church in a nearby town and so I was “too busy” to get to know my neighbors.
However, that didn’t stop me from encouraging my flock that they should be busy inviting their friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, and coworkers. And I personally spent a good bit of time in the area near the church doing the same.
But after living in my neighborhood almost two years, the Lord convicted me that I had a nodding acquaintance with only one neighbor and didn’t know the names of any of my neighbors.
I also knew that in my section of the nation there was about a 97 percent chance that each of my neighbors were unchurched. I decided it was well past time to do something.
And so I started praying for opportunities to meet them and I began to make appearances at timely intervals in order to meet those who lived around me.
He goes on to discuss how he connected with one of his neighbors.
(Note: Join us for some practical faith sharing ideas at our upcoming free Webinar with Bill Tenny-Brittian March 26. Bill’s book Hitchhiker’s Guide To Evangelism is full of more practical relationship building ideas.)
Getting to know my neighbors
By the time we moved, we had made friendships with nearly every couple there
- Opening our house for Bring your own side dish – grilling events.
- Parties around the Superbowl, Christmas, Memorial and Labor Day.
- Talking with the neighbors while doing exterior work around the property (mowing the yard, raking leaves, etc).
Eventually, those kinds of friendships opened up to more personal discussions on life and eventually spiritual matters.
At the end of 5 years, no one had come to faith directly as a result of our efforts.
However, within 2 years after we had moved, 3 of the households found faith and started attending church somewhere.
We attribute that to the hours of prayer, hours of relationship building, and hours of deep conversation that occurred while pausing our leaf raking. . .
Getting to know my new neighbors
Now we live in a condo tower.
We have lived here for over 18 months.
The turnover in rentals in the building keeps changing the make up of the residents.
Over the past 6 months, we have gotten to know the family we share a floor with.
We’ve been praying for them, for their needs, and doing life with them. Going to the beach as families, celebrating birthdays, kids playing together. Simply doing life together.
The friendship is deep now, and the struggles of life are beginning to be shared. We have liberty to share what God is doing in our life, how we are aware of God’s presence in our midst, and how God is providing for our needs.
While we have not prayed with them for their needs, we certainly are praying for them. With each passing week, more relational bonds are built between our families.
Our faith has been on display: praying for our kids during birthday celebrations, grace at meals, inviting our neighbors to church, our small group. Their son occasionally comes with us, and even attended a vacation Bible school with our kids.
He talks with my son about who is the Lord and why are we living where we do.
The curiosity of our family practices begins to raise questions and provide opportunity to talk about the relevance of our faith to our daily life.
- Why do we invest our time in church?
- What does the Bible say about parenting?
- What does “Honor thy father and mother” look like?
- How to we still have peace in our heart when life hurts?
- Why do your kids have such a servant’s heart that my kids don’t?
These are natural conversations that are occurring and give us ample opportunity to demonstrate the relevance of our faith to life.
Our neighbors are on a journey towards Christ. We walk this path with them because we took the time to get to know them.
With whom do you live?
Not just your immediate family members, but consider your neighbors.
Who might the Lord be calling you to be praying for and get to know better?
Take 5 minutes today and in quiet prayer, simply ask the Lord to underline someone for you.
What next steps will you take?