How To Reach Your Neighbors When You Think You Can’t
I want to reach out to others, but I can barely get out of the house some days. I can’t add anything more to my schedule. And then there’s actually having a conversation without about 20 interruptions of “Mom” and a diaper change. As moms, we aren’t the first person in line for the evangelism team.
I get it.
I have a heart for missions, but I have a home full of littles that need me to make sure they survive the day. (Wow, as I wrote that I thought, “Come on, drama queen. You must be overstating it,” but no, there’s no hyperbole there. My kids are young, and they can’t make it through a single day without me right now. Mommas, we are important. Those kids may not say “thank you” now, so let me say it for them, friend: THANK YOU!)
So, we want to reach out, but we think it’s impossible?
Well, here are a few ideas of how reaching out and serving others could be incorporated into our daily life and lead to opportunities to share our faith:
Everyone driving you crazy in the house? Go for a walk around your neighborhood. While you are walking, pray for the people inside the houses that you pass. Involve your kids and disciple them by praying out loud. Have them pray too. (PS if they kids get distracted by every rock, stick, and leaf they pass, that’s fine. No yelling at kids to stay on task and pray. Yelling at your kids during prayer is kind of discouraged. Don’t ask my how I know.) Pray for opportunities to talk to your neighbors. Pray for the people that are outside their houses doing yardwork or whatever they are out there doing. Ask those people if there’s anything you can pray for them about.
Play in your front yard
Go out front and play instead of always being in the back. Sure, if your kids are a certain age, there’s a bit of safety training that has to go on so they don’t play in the street but that needs to happen anyway, right? You’ll see neighbors go out to get their mail. You’ll wave at them as they drive by. Become the approachable ones.
Use your errands to serve
Going to the store? The library? Check with your neighbors. Do they need anything picked up? A library book returned? The elderly lady next door may need something picked up, but don’t overlook the mom with the little kids too. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have a grocery store fairy who magically grabbed that gallon of milk for you just as you ran out of it? Be that grocery fairy godmother for your neighbors!
Give little gifts
It’s getting to that season where we bake and give gifts. Don’t forget your neighbors. You can make them cookies or some gingerbread. Not a baker? Buy them some goodies. Or, decorate little hand sanitizers because it’s the season for that too unfortunately. Include a note letting them know you have been praying for them and tell them to contact you anytime they need prayer for something specific. Add a verse. His word always makes a difference (Is 55:11).
Have neighbors over to eat with you. This is the most intimidating, or is that just me? My house is a wreck. My meals are sometimes not so chef-like, unless you count Chef Boyardee. That’s ok, though. I eat three times a day (at least), seven days a week. That’s 21 times a week which is over 1000 times a year. I could be connecting with people at least a few of those times. Make the meals real. Order a pizza, boil some pasta and open a jar of sauce, grill some hot dogs, or go ahead and bust out that beef bourguignon. Don’t just do dinners. Try a breakfast or lunch. Why not tea and cookies? Just open up your home and have them over. Do you know how many times ministry happened in people’s homes with Jesus? This must work. He can’t be wrong. (Of course, if you were following His example exactly as he did it, you might be inviting yourself over to someone’s house you just met that was hanging out in a tree, but let’s not get too literal about this, ok?)
Try one of these in December. Just one. Let me know how it goes. I’ll let you know how mine goes. Pinky swear. Any other ideas? Let me know those too.
Special thanks to Danielle Cervenka for helping brainstorm this list!