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Editorial: Christians must practice intentional neighboring

Do our neighbors go to church? Do we know if our neighbors go to church? Do we even know our neighbors?

As we rush from church events to work, as we engage with family, friends and strangers through social media, it’s easy for us to lose sight of the souls next door. Often, we’re more willing to take the Gospel to faraway lands than down the block.

This month we report on Christians who worship in homes. Some do so because there are no other options. Others have lots of options but long for a close-knit sense of community. We learned that even those of us who live in Bible Belt communities with giant congregations can’t assume that everyone goes to church. Count the number of cars at IHOP on Sunday mornings if you want proof, one church planter advised.

We also learned that starting and maintaining a house church isn’t easy. It takes more than inviting people to worship. Rather, church planters call for “intentional neighboring.” We must make a prayerful effort to get to know those who live around us. We must get involved in their lives. We must let them see Christ in us.
Whether our churches meet in living rooms or large auditoriums, we must make time to know and love our neighbors.This process can take months — even years — but it can yield believers of strong faith who may one day plant new congregations.

Whether our churches meet in living rooms or large auditoriums, we must make time to know and love our neighbors. Not only does this have the potential to multiply churches, but this practice helps show the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities of this world, as Paul challenges us in Ephesians 3:10.

We saw this happen recently in Dallas, when members of the Church of Christ at Mountain View marched to a nearby police station to mourn with their neighbors after the shooting deaths of five officers, as we report on Page 12. You see, the church members had taken the time to get to know the police and didn’t see them as the enemy. As protests raged and racial tensions flared across our country, these brothers and sisters joined hands with their neighbors and showed the nation what the Kingdom of God looks like.

We praise our Father for these people of peace — and pray for more.

Filed under: Editorial Opinion

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