03 May When We Refuse to Love our Neighbors
At Storyline, we see four portions on the ministry plate. We make four “asks” of our members:
- Participate in a worship service
- Plug into a Home Group
- Serve in a ministry
- Practice the art of neighboring
What happens when a person enjoys the weekly service, hangs out with their home group, and serves on a ministry team, BUT refuses to spend time with unchurched people God has placed in adjacent spaces?
When You Refuse Relational Evangelism
At Storyline, we say it this way: “Invite people into your life, not to a location.” For decades, the American church made the scorecard too simple—just find a way to get that guy to a worship service so that the preacher on the platform can share the Gospel. While we do strive to create an invitation culture, designing our worship services to be new-person friendly, we believe wholeheartedly that the burden for souls lies with the body, not the preacher. There’s more to evangelism than getting your neighbor to sit a room with Christians.
Who is your neighbor?
To be clear, your neighbor is someone God has placed across from you. This certainly describes the person in the adjacent apartment, but it also includes those with whom you work or play—your co-workers and your rock-climbing cohorts. God will put people in your life that He wants YOU TO REACH, and to pray for, and to search for ways to love.
It starts with names. Do you still wave at the guy across the street as you walk your trash can to the curb? Cross the street. Say, “Hello, my name is…” Start building a relationship and be that guy’s friend. You never know what God has planned until you take the first step.