During the Christmas season, we encouraged our people to spend the next year building relationships for the purpose of sharing Jesus. The central message of the Scriptures is this, God coming to us by becoming one of us. Jesus came to open the way for us to be friends with God. For those who follow Jesus, one of the most important ways we can be like Him is to intentionally build relationships with those in our neighborhoods. Now, only Jesus is truly God with us. He is our only Savior, and the only one who can bring redemption and restoration. Still, when Christ saves us He puts the Holy Spirit within us, and sends us into the world. This means that in an entirely different way, we have the presence of God and are sent by Christ (John 20:21). This means we can live incarnationally, as people who take the presence of God into our neighborhoods and offer the opportunity for the people we know to meet the One True God.
What I have learned over the years, though, is that we need practical and applicable ideas to make this happen. So we plan to publish 12 ideas in 2018, simple ways to help us build relationships in our neighborhoods so we can be friends with people and share Jesus.
For January our idea is to create a map of your neighborhood. Draw a map of your neighborhood, or print one from Google Maps. Make sure your map shows at least four homes on the right side of your home, four on the left, and four across the street. Label the map with family names. Include as much information as you know about the family (i.e., how many kids, kids names, ages, pets, etc.). Use the map as a way to start getting to know names of people. If you do not know the names of the people who live in these homes, make it a goal in the next month to meet them, and get to know their names, and the names and ages of their kids if they have them. This is the first step in being friends with anyone, knowing their name. Once you have the map completed with names, use the map to start praying for those living around you. Use family devotions and prayer times to pray for your neighbors by name.
Here the example from my neighborhood.