Living Outside Your House

Eric Russ

We live in a very impoverished area in Detroit. Intentionally, many of our leaders have chosen to move here in order to live gospel centered lives in this community. However,  we find ourselves struggling to consistently engage the culture around us with the gospel.

It is so easy to fill our schedules with other fun acitivities. In addition, our lives are already busy with family and friends. Not to mention, one of the last things we want to do is engage someone we don't know very well. Add on the fact that we don't know how they might respond; will it be awkward, will they be weird? Finally, we can just be plain tired and not wanting to engage. Oh, did I even bring up spiritual warfare? So busyness, tiredness, apathy and spiritual warfare are just some of the reasons to keep you and me from being about Jesus' agenda.

Through our failures and successes we have become convinced that in order to develop a missional life, one has to concede to two nonnegotiables: Intentionality and Creativity.

As I often hear pastors spur their people on toward ministering in their community, I realize that we tend to talk about missional living from up front like it is as easy as riding a bike. Sadly, I believe that happens because most of us are talking about it but few of us are actually doing what we are asking our people to do in our communities.
    
As someone who fails often in this area, I will tell you that being missional isn’t that simple. People who do not take intentional effort in making sure their missional efforts are in their schedule usually don’t last long missionally.
    
In our community, we have seen even the most well intentioned individuals learn to be deliberate about who they want to connect with. Your plan does not need to be insanely strategic. However, you need to have some sort of idea of what you are trusting Christ for. Your plan may be as general as getting to know all the neighbors on your street or as specific as serving three friends in your community that you have never talked to about Christ. Your plan will hopefully aid you in being accountable to move forward.  Our family has decided to try to have each of our neighbors in the couple surrounding blocks over for dinner.  We try to have one night set aside each week for a missional dinner.  

Secondly, as you desire to build good will in order to share the gospel, it is always good to have different ways to connect with your neighbors or neighborhood. If you are trying to think of a few ways to engage your neighbors, below is a post of my friend’s blog who has ideas posted. This is a great pace to start. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you as you seek to make Christ known.

These are ideas found in Josh Reeve’s guest post “25 Ways to Engage Your Neighbors” found on Jonathan Dodson’s blog. (http://jonathandodson.org/2011/07/25-ways-to-engage-your-neighbors/)

 

Love Y’all

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