Back in 2011, Jonathan Dodson wrote an article about how being on mission “is not an event we tack onto our already busy lives. It is our life. Mission should be the way we live, not something we add onto life.”
The obstacle for most of us is, where does one find the time in an already crowed calendar? Here is my modified list from Jonathan on some things we can do without overloading our schedules.
Eat with Non-Christians
We all eat three meals a day. Why not make a habit of sharing one of those meals with a non-Christian or with a family of non-Christians? Go to lunch with a co-worker, not by yourself. Invite the neighbors over for family dinner. If it’s too much work to cook a big dinner, just order pizza and put the focus on conversation. Do a backyard BBQ and invite a mix of both Christians and non-Christians.
Walk, Don’t Drive
Weather permitting; I walk everywhere – down to the bank in Multnomah Village or to coffee in Hillsdale.
Make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood, apartment complex, or community. Instead of driving to the mailbox, convenience store, or apartment office, walk to get mail, groceries, and stuff. Be deliberate in your walk. Say hello to people you don’t know. Strike up conversations. Make friends. Get out of your house! Take interest in your neighbors. Ask questions. Pray as you go.
Be a Regular
Instead of hopping all over the city for gas, groceries, haircuts, eating out, and coffee, go to the same local neighborhood places. Get to know the staff. Smile and give your neighbors a ‘nod’ of recognition. Ask questions. Build relationships. Be a regular.
Hobby with Non-Christians
Pick a hobby that you can share. Get out and do something you enjoy with others. Join a city league sports team, a local hiking or cycling club, or other group that enjoys your same passions. Be prayerful. Be intentional. Be winsome. Have fun. Be yourself.
Volunteer at a Non-Profit
Find a non-Christian non-profit in your part of the city and take a Saturday a month to serve. Bring your neighbors, your friends, or your small group. Spend time serving your city. Flee the Christian subculture.
Participate in City Events
Go to city sponsored meeting on key issues facing your neighborhood, festivals, clean-ups, summer shows, and concerts. Strike up conversations. Study the culture. Reflect on what you see and hear. Pray for the city. Love the city. Participate with the city.
Serve Your Neighbors
Help a neighbor by weeding, mowing, building a cabinet, fixing a car. Stop by your apartment complex office and ask if there is anything you can do to help improve things. Ask your local police, fire station, and public school if there is anything you can do to help them.
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, The Message). I hope these simple suggestions help us all “move into the neighborhood” and be a witness of Jesus to all.