And who is my neighbor?…
The lawyer inquires of Jesus, working his angles to try and test him.
It’s the question that sets up one of the greatest stories of all time, and it’s also one of the foundational questions we ask churches as they lean into this work of placemaking. The more clarity we have on who our neighbor is, the more capacity we will have to leverage our space well. Matt discussed this in his Monday Minute two weeks ago, so I won’t unpack the idea any further, but in a way, build on it.
The question, then, becomes How?
How do we listen to our neighbors?
How do we define who are neighbor is?
How do we see ourselves as part of a healthy neighborhood ecosystem, not as a standalone entity separate from the rest of the world?
These can be daunting questions to ask if churches aren’t prepared to answer them well. But like with most anything else, good tools can help lead the way. In our partnering work with churches, we have created several tools aimed to equip them in this work of neighboring well.
Tools to help define the boundaries of a church’s neighborhood and to help craft the story of their neighborhood over time, how it’s changed, how it’s remained unchanged. Tools to help assess the resources and relationships already abundant within a church’s small community ecosystem and to help cultivate a collaborative spirit within them.
Good tools can turn abstract and overwhelming questions into simple and practical actions. Only fitting to end this Monday Minute with a throwback to another great storyteller, as it’s Bill Murray who reminds us of the power of baby steps. May we never forget. 🙂
Baby Steps Forward,