Friday, March 12, 2010


I have just finished reading this book by Simon Holt. It is both challenging and encouraging. The book begins with an exploration of what neighbourhood is and how it has evolved. It looks at the biblical perspective on neighbourhoods, and I appreciated the view that our priority is to treat our neighbours with respect, dignity and love. It was interesting to reflect that being best buddies with all our neighbours is not necessarily a biblical imperative. (Collective relief from the introverts in the room).

Simon (and I call him that because we are acquainted, and were once neighbours! - that's my name dropping/brush with fame parenthetical statement)... sorry for that interruption. Simon takes the time to affirm ministry - loving, serving and connecting - in your local neighbourhood as mission. He has obviously spent lots of time listening to 'ordinary' Christians share their experiences of intentionally building relationships, praying, sharing faith and time in their local area.

So there are heaps of stories about people who have put time and energy into connecting with their neighbours, in order to love them and serve them. The stories are told engagingly and illustrate the ideas of the book really well. There is no magic formula for reaching people, no particular ministry model, and that is refreshing. The challenge to me, was to find my own way to bless those in my neighbourhood by working at authentic, respectful, kind relationships. To put time and energy into it because its not just an extra, its the main game for churches who want to build God's kingdom.

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