A while Back Seth McBee, of Soma Communities and the GCM Collective, wrote an article entitled, “A Story of a Gospel Community.” Read how God used him to start a missional community, engage many neighbors, reach some for Christ, and send them out as disciples.
“In two weeks, in a suburban town outside of Seattle, we’ll celebrate God’s grace and the Spirit’s work through baptizing a new disciple of Jesus. This is the story of how a neighborhood can look like the book of Acts, where disciples are made and we teach and preach from house-to-house, an example of how to make disciples in our sphere of influence… in today’s context.
We moved into our housing development 7 1/2 years ago, and for the first 6 years, we didn’t know anyone who didn’t live next to us. I’m serious. I didn’t know the guy across the street. By the way, his name is Trevor, and he’s getting baptized in my backyard. But, for the first 6 years, the extent of our reaching-out to our neighbors was leading a youth group and handing out bibles door-to-door and singing Christmas carols in the dark because people shut off their lights on us. Sometime while standing in the cold singing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’ I started to think, ‘Maybe we need a different modus operandi for bringing the gospel to my neighbors.’…” Read More on How God turned everything around here
Halloween is a great time to meet new neighbors. If you have kids, you have the permission to go door-to-door and introduce yourself to your neighbors. If you don’t have kids, many neighbors will come to you seeking sugary candy. Yet you can give them something much better, friendship. How can you bless your neighbors this Halloween?
Here are some thoughts on how you can make Halloween serve Gospel purposes of getting to know your neighbors:
- In the week before, Have a Community Pumpkin carving party at your house. You can even have all the kids judge the pumpkins and give out prizes. Have some games, snacks, and beverages available.
- Halloween is important to kids. Make sure to hand out candy. Turn some lights on so kids know you’re home and so parents know you’re welcoming.
- Buy some great candy and don’t be stingy with it. When I was a kid, I knew who gave out the full candy bars and who gave out the grandma candy that tasted like rotten peanut butter.
- Make a big deal about the kids’ costumes. Have fun and make them feel special when they come to your door.
- In many places, including Jackson this year, it’s going to be pretty cold. What can you do to help freezing parents and children warm up? How about free hot Apple Cider or Hot Chocolate? In addition to free drinks, do you have a portable bonfire pit? Set it up in the front yard and invite people to sit down and warm up before they move on to the next street.
- Why just hand out Candy? Give them a little toy from a dollar or party store. Glowsticks or bracelets would be a great hit!
- Learn the names of any of the adults that come by. Ask them where they live and make a little small talk. Try to remember the names of any kids that you see playing in the neighborhood as well. Write down the names and addresses of the people you meet so you can remember them later.
- How are you going to follow-up with the people you meet? How about handing out invitations and having a Halloween after party for the Adults to have some festive adult beverages and snacks? Or, how about inviting people to a party on the following weekend?
- Create a community facebook page and hand out invitations to everyone who comes by.
- Team up with the neighbors you know. Be the really fun groups of houses so that you draw more people down your street.
- Go trick or treating with at least one other family and pick up more in your group as you walk along. It’s a great opportunity to get to know mom’s and dads better as you walk along.
- Decorate a little so kids think your house looks fun and inviting. Don’t go overboard and get too scary or parents might not be happy and the kids might not stick around long enough to talk.
- Invite your Missional Communities to join you in handing out candy, going trick-or-treating, or anything you’re doing on Halloween. You’ll have a greater chance of connecting with other neighbors with a couple more people by your side.
No matter what you do this Halloween, pray that God might open doors to good conversations and friendships and that, through His Spirit, they people might see a hint of God’s Kingdom and His love.
If you have any other ideas, feel free to comment below.
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How much does Community matter to our neighborhoods? Watch this short video from Incommon:
None of our current Missional Communities are in “At risk” neighborhoods. While MC West is maybe interacting with people in poverty as they meet in Jackson Park, neither of our initial MCs are really in neighborhoods of poverty. Yet I think that the message in this video can teach us something about community that is pertinent to our mission to bless and the greater community in which we meet and live.
Think through following questions:
- The video said, “People are the foundation on which a strong neighborhood is build.” Do you know the people in your neighborhood? If not, how can you take a step to get to know more of your neighbors?
- How are you investing in the people of your neighborhoods?
- Is there anyone else in your neighborhood already engaged in helping their neighbors and fostering community? If so, how can you partner with them?
Check out Incommon on their work of building Community to lift areas out of poverty.
I found the video on Communities First Association’s blog.
Over the last few months, our core team has done a lot of training and talking about Missional Communities, Planting a Church, and reaching out to the lost. Yet there’s a real danger in this, that we might continue simply talking and mistake it as faithfulness. We need to not only talk about the faith and about mission, but live it as well.
Watch the following video and consider the questions below:
- Have you given into this same theory of the Christian life?
- How can we keep ourselves from falling into living as a theorist rather than a practitioner?
Mike Breen and Alex Absalom talk about the process of building a credible gospel witness and growing your MC in their Launching Missional Communities: a field guide. They speak of five stages of growing an MC, Sowing, Sowing, Sowing, Reaping, Keeping. Below is an illustration of each stage similar to what they present, along with their descriptions of each stage.
As we plant this church and begin our Missional Communities, we will all need to be involved in building relationships with the unchurched. Yet, we do the work together. Your job as an individual probably wont be to bring the person through each of those stages. Rather, each individual will probably be more gifted and inclined to be involved at certain stages. In each case, the job of each member will be to introduce these unchurched people to other members of the MC who can partner with you in loving on, witnessing, and sharing life with them.
Think again of the people who are in your life.
- Who is in your life that needs Christ?
- How are you strengthening your relationship with them? When was the last time you had dinner with them, hung out with them, invited them to a social gathering or event?
- Are you praying for them?