Summer-time is a great time for Some-More time with…people! I know you have gardening to do, and your lawn needs mowed, and you want to paint your house, but don’t forget… People really matter to God! Here in the Midwest, people who have been hiding all winter long in their houses watching eight hours a day of Netflix actually come out from their four walls and you can actually meet your neighbors… it’s amazing! Maybe if you live in central Florida or Phoenix this is the season where everyone hides inside and cranks the A/C.
For our family, we have noticed that from early May until late September, this is the best time to meet people and get to know people in our neighborhood. And IF we’re intentional, God can and will do amazing things if we choose to simply do what Jesus did… Go and make… FRIENDS!
If you read the gospel message according to Luke, Luke focuses on the many, many times Jesus encountered all the “wrong people” or “common and ordinary” people and how it caused the “religious” people to grumble about the people Jesus spent his time with.
I love how Tim Chester, a pastor and scholar England describes the method of Jesus: “Jesus didn’t run projects, establish ministries, create programs, or put on events. He ate meals. If you routinely share meals and you have a passion for Jesus, then you’ll be doing mission. It’s not that meals save people. People are saved through the gospel message. But meals create natural opportunities to share that message in a context that resonates powerfully with what you’re saying.”
What if this Summer, What if this week, What if TODAY — you and I were convinced that God placed us right where we are at and if He intends to use us and our families to Go and Make Friends with real people and show them God’s love in real and tangible ways and all it requires is that we’re intentional, we’re authentic, and we’re willing to listen (and maybe show up with some good ice cream!)?
Francis Schaeffer, was a wonderful church leader in the late 20th century and he tells us where we are to start. Schaeffer writes this:
Don’t start with a big program. Don’t suddenly think you can add to your church budget and begin. Start personally and start in your home. I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. Do what I am going to suggest. Begin by opening your home for community. . . . You don’t need a big program. You don’t have to convince your session or board. All you have to do is open your home and begin. And there is no place in God’s world where there are no people who will come and share a home as long as it is a real home.
Go and Make Friends.
Start with your meals.
You don’t need a big program.
You don’t need any gimmicks.
You don’t need to know everything.
1. Host an outdoor movie night for kids and families in your neighborhood
- Show up at a neighbor’s house with their favorite ice cream (don’t skimp!)
Buy several pints of Ben & Jerry’s, Graeter’s, Jeni’s, or a local shop and let them keep the extras.
- Offer to watch a neighbor’s kids so they can run errands or go on a date.
- Buy extra mulch! A good friend of mine buys double the amount of mulch he needs every year so that he can offer it to neighbors and help them landscape their gardens. How cool!!
- Take a walk after dinner. My wife does a great job of getting us out of our house most nights to walk the neighborhood and while we probably scare some people (four crazy kids) we almost always meet someone new and get to know people in our neighborhood a little bit more.