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How to Live Missionally in the Suburbs

Scripture is quite clear on numerous matters. The “go and make disciples” decree is one of them:

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19)

“Go into all the world and preach the good news…” (Mark 16:15)

“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you…” (John 20:21)

The “how” of fulfilling this command, however, remains the topic of much conversation among the global community of believers. Agreement exists in the recognition that loving the Lord with all of your heart, soul and mind is foremost on the path of discipleship. Indeed, being a witness to the extravagant grace received through the salvific humility of the Lord Jesus Christ furthers the journey.

But, what to do with this head knowledge? Should we focus on our words or our actions or both?? How do we live the life of faith in the 21st century suburb of northern Virginia? How do we love our neighbors as ourselves…really?

We are in different stages of life. Our families have different needs. Our employment status’ vary.

But we all have one thing in common: we have neighbors.

Let’s start at the very beginning (go ahead…sing along…it’s a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A-B-C…).  Needs exist right outside our own front door. We do not need to go to another hemisphere to be God’s witnesses.

  • Get to know your neighbors, even the ones three doors down.
  • When you walk your dog, pray for the family in each home you pass.
  • Linger in the driveway or amidst your gardening so you can chat with a neighbor.
  • Host a BBQ on your street when the weather gets warm (start planning now!).

Then, listen to your neighbors. Be in conversation and ask about their lives. Hear how you can be Christ’s hands and feet in their life. Be open then to the discussions turning to faith. Lean on the Lord to give His insights as you serve as His witness on your street. Bill Hybels wrote, “I’m more convinced than ever the absolute highest value in personal evangelism is staying in tune and cooperating with the Holy Spirit.” (Just Walk Across the Room, p. 35)

Being a missionary in your neighborhood takes compassion and patience and gentleness. It is also a risk. Reaching out risks rejection. Friendship opens us to commitment. Relationships consume time. And for us introverts, it takes courage. Yet, amidst it all remains the command to “Go!”. This is where we also find abundant life in Christ!

Call to Action:

Do one thing this week to extend a hand of friendship in your neighborhood.

Then come back here and share your story. Or, email me! I’d love to know how the Lord is working on your street!

Posted by Sharon R. Hoover
Director of Missions and Evangelism

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