When we moved to League City, south of Houston, in 2007, we planted a church. It was just a little different from most churches where we had served in the past.
But, it was a good different.
We tried to take the good from the past and chuck the ineffective/not-so-great, and planted a church, designed on the church in Acts, in the Bible.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
Not every idea worked perfectly, and our church, which is still in existence, even though we had to move, is still trying to get it right. (Aren’t most churches trying to get it right? We are a group of flawed humans, after all.)
But, through all of it, we felt (and still feel) God’s hand of favor was and is upon that little church.
One of the things we did a little different was to have weekly local neighborhood gatherings. (A couple different families would host in their own neighborhoods, getting to know their neighbors.)
There was ALWAYS food involved!
(And, you know how I love me some food!)
Long story, short, we would meet at our house, or at our neighbor’s house, bring a pot-luck meal, and while eating, we would share our lives. The highs and lows of the week. The kids were included in the conversation, as well. It was important for them to hear and be heard.
We invited other neighbors and we shared meals with them. It was not designed to be exclusive in any way, shape, or form.
But, it was bigger than just a supper club.
We served our neighbors together.
We played together. (That link is only one of the many Hunks vs Punks posts I’ve written about…do a search for Hunks vs Punks, and you can read them all!)
(Not only did we play football together, we went to football games together…)
(I actually DO know the lady at the bottom right; I just didn’t when I took that picture. She’s probably still talking to her neighbor because he’s probably still texting…)
We prayed together and even baptized together…
And, of course, we ate together.
It was a beautiful thing.
ThrillCam and I will forever be changed, for the better, because of our neighborhood Table Group.
(photo credit to Jeremy Knight)
So, guess what?
We are trying it, again, with our new neighbors!
We had a group of 4 families over, on Tuesday night (no, I didn’t take pictures…yet!).
We threw out the vision.
We’ll see what happens.
Either way, whether we meet weekly and eat together, or not, I’m excited to see where God takes us, as a neighborhood.
Because, I KNOW how lives can be impacted and changed just by reaching out and loving one another…doing life together.
Some people you just hit it off with immediately.
Some people fall into the “they will will be lifelong friends” category.
You know them.
You have a couple of friends like that.
ThrillCam and I have a number of those friends from our old stomping grounds, south of Houston.
I am happy to say, we can now add a few new folks to our list here, as well.
We moved to the Waco area nearly a year ago. While it seems like a long time, it has flown by.
Our first few months we spent holed up in the new house getting things moved in. We weren’t spending a ton of time meeting people. We didn’t really start to church shop until after the new year. We sat alone in the football stands for most of our son’s football season. I did not go up to the school to volunteer. And, on top of that, our house is set off the road with a few acres, not in a typical neighborhood.
We pretty much made it very difficult for anyone to get to know us.
If we were going to actually make friends, it sort of rested on the shoulders of the very people we needed to meet, but weren’t. THEY were going to have to be intentional about meeting us.
Enter: Mark and Julie.
Look closely at the picture above. Those two are the poster children for the term Good Neighbors.
They immediately reached out to us and invited us to church, to their home, to share deep and thoughtful conversations, to eat. (Offer food, and I’m so there!)
They took a risk.
Julie took it upon herself to introduce me to more girls in the area. We started having lunch out. Or, I’d invite the girls over for coffee. I was even invited to celebrate a new friend’s 40th birthday, which is huge in my book!
Or, Julie and Marlo and Kim would take me walking or to Zumba and cause me great pain the next day because I was (am) so out of shape.
But, that’s another story.
Mark asked ThrillCam and our youngest son to join him, his sons and a few other dads and their sons, to hang out on Sunday evenings. Mark wanted to just pour into the neighborhood boys and foster stronger father/son relationships.
This couple has made our transition a little easier, a little sweeter.
Learn from these sweet folks; reach out to someone you don’t know well, open up your circle of friends to a new (or not-so-new) neighbor, take a risk.
Who knows? You may gain lifelong friends!
We often think others don’t want to be bothered, but you may be totally surprised if you reach out. Honestly, don’t we all want friends, to be cared for, to be loved? ThrillCam and I did!…do.
Of course, it may not work out as supremely as my new friendship has, but you will be better for trying, for risking, for loving.
That, I do know.
So, get out there, and be a Good Neighbor.