Recently, I heard a sermon at church that left me more than just a little convicted. It was entitled “The Art of Neighboring” and it highlighted the biblical truths about welcoming your neighbors and being a light in your community. The pastor had some stats that supported the fact that people who are in community with their neighbors and who purposefully integrate themselves into their community live longer lives.
Furthermore, when a natural disaster hits like flooding, a tornado or a blizzard, your neighbors are usually the first to respond and to offer help. The Art of Neighboring, as described, is a lost art. My big eye-opener came when the pastor asked: “How many of you know the names of your neighbors?”
I sat there dumbfounded. I didn’t know many of my neighbors at all. Conversely, when I think about my parents, they know almost all of their neighbors, regularly speak to them, have them over and vice versa. Despite living in a world where we are all so “connected” via social media and the internet, most of us feel more disconnected than ever.
The Art of Neighboring – Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door, written by Pastors Jay Pthak and Dave Runyon is a detailed description of what they found when they posed the questions, Who is my neighbor? and What is the most loving thing I can do for the people that live on my street? They set out to become friends and neighbors with their communities and this book is the result of their findings.
Within the book is a neighborhood map that you can download for free to help you get to know your neighbors. They also suggest scheduling a block party or ice cream social and inviting your neighbors as an outreach and a way to start building community where you live. Pretty simple steps we can all take.
By developing genuine friendships with the people who live in the closest proximity to us, we not only get some help every now and then with that cup of sugar we need to borrow but also with extending our lifespan. Not a bad trade-off for a couple minutes of our time to introduce ourselves with a friendly hello.