When detours happen in our lives, on a global scale or on a personal one, we can see it as an inconvenience, or as an opportunity. Unexpected changes bring people together, and our neighborhoods are no exception. We know that the Church isn’t a building—it’s a people. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to live out our faith and be the Church during a detour! Here are 5 things that good neighbors do that you can use as inspiration to be a light to the people around you.
1. A Good Neighbor is Friendly
Start simple—if you’ve never taken the time to talk to your neighbors, or even formally meet them, make it your goal to say hi and start a conversation with no motives in mind other than to be friendly. When the people around you know who you are and how you care, they’ll be more likely to connect with you in the future, giving you more opportunities to love them well.
2. A Good Neighbor Gets Specific
We all know how easy it is to say “That’s okay!” when someone asks if they can do anything for us—even when our list of to-do’s is a mile long. Take a posture of not asking “Can I do anything?” but instead, “What can I do for you?” Mention dog walking to your neighbor who has two great danes, ask if you can grab a pick-up grocery order for the older couple next door, or offer to watch the single mom’s kids with your own for a few hours at the park. When we’re specific with our asks, we give people a bigger opportunity to say yes and to accept love.
3. A Good Neighbor Gives What They Can
We all have something to offer when it comes to being a good neighbor. If you’re feeling called to generosity, send an extra pizza to the people next door when you order your own. If you’ve got extra time, spend it with someone who might not get a lot of visitors, or by putting a handwritten letter of encouragement in their mailbox. If you have flowing resources, place a mini care package on the doorstep of your neighbor across the street—fill it with sugar, flour, pancake mix, eggs, and orange juice. If you’re able to do some labor, rake leaves, pull weeds, or mow the grass for someone on your street. You’ll be amazed how simple the little things are and how big of an impression they’ll leave.
4. A Good Neighbor Checks On Those In Need
Take the opportunity to do a physical check-in on neighbors who you know may have special circumstances or greater needs, like the elderly man who lives alone, or the single mom with four kids. Just a knock on the door and a quick hello can mean more than you know, or even leaving a note just letting them know that you’re available if they ever need anything could be a source of major encouragement to them.
5. A Good Neighbor Prays Intentionally
When was the last time you prayed for your neighbors? Whether you’re close friends or have never spoken, here’s an opportunity to say an intentional prayer for the people you may see every day, but never think to include in your prayers. Pray for specifics—like what you know they’re going through or the details you know about their lives—and pray for the general, safety, peace, and how you can continue to show them the love of Jesus. You might be surprised how praying for your neighbors can begin to alter the way that you see them and the future opportunities you take to serve them.
If you’re not sure where to start, choose one trait on this list to try this week, and do it well! When we are intentional about being the Church outside of the building, we’re spreading the love of Jesus in tangible and practical ways that turn heads and soften hearts.
How will you be a light today?