In Minnesota, even in the broader Mid-West, there tends to be a hibernation cycle. Winter comes and children only play outside until frost bite nips at their fingers and faces. The majority of the time we spend outside is that little time watching our kids, or just long enough to keep the drive way from getting icy. Then this wonderful thing happens, spring! The cold snow goes away and neighbors you haven’t talked to, in what seems like, weeks are out in their yard weeding, mowing, grilling and playing with their kiddos. Summer becomes a great time to get to know your neighbors. The opportunities to strike up a conversation increase and it becomes easier to mingle.
As Christians we are told to be missional. Christ tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. This doesn’t always have to happen under the banner of a formal ministry. Being missional can be as simple as being a good neighbor. It can be as simple as offering to watch their kids for an afternoon or even helping with lawn care. You could even bake a loaf of bread and go introduce yourself if you haven’t met them yet, or host a BBQ. Get to know their names, even the names of their kids. By interacting on a small level you can learn about their lives. Little by little you can learn how to love them best.
Being missional to your neighbors doesn’t need to be a conversion conversation the first time you hang out; it doesn’t even need to be a mad dash of evangelism. By being intentional with your neighbors and showing them love, in seemingly simple ways, trust will be built up. Planting seeds of trust in the lives of people around you will lead to the sharing of your lives. Building trust with your neighbors can eventually lead to gospel opportunities. The more you share your lives the more opportunities you will have to explain your values and why you live the way you do.
Being intentional with your neighbors can change the whole atmosphere of the street you live on. It can build community and foster friendships. A street of intentional neighbors who share their lives with one another could potentially change the neighborhood that they live in, and maybe even lead to changes in their city. I say this to show the grand effects that mission can have. This is something you may want to consider for your neighborhood this summer when planning a grilled dinner, when you see the lawn mowers come out, or when your kids get the slip and slide out on a hot day. Mission always starts with one thing: initiative. So I encourage you to take the initiative this summer to get to know your neighbors!