Be a Missionary in Your Neighborhood
From the Desk of Dawn Parr, Children’s Ministry Director
“So from Jerusalem all the way around Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: ‘They who were not told of him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.’”
When Paul wrote these words he was about to complete his third missionary journey and visit Jerusalem. By the time he wrote these words, he had already traveled extensively. There was still more traveling for him to do, but much of his missionary career was complete. He was speaking as a veteran. Paul spent the remainder of his life, after receiving Christ, going into all of the world preaching the Gospel message.
When I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, I was on fire for God. I wanted to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth! However, this verse in Romans helps me to stay connected to God’s will for my life. We are not to build on another man’s work but build new foundations. You do not need to travel further than your own neighborhood to fulfill this goal.
What are some ways to do this?
First, you should pray.
When was the last time your prayed for your neighbors? Take a family walk and pray for each home as you pass by. Develop this prayer life into your children so that they understand the need for praying for those in their community.
Next, seek out ways to share Jesus.
Jesus teaches us to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He did not wait for people to come to Him! Sometimes we barely speak to our neighbors, but a simple ‘Good Morning’ is a fresh start. Look for common meeting spaces, areas to interact, and remember to ask God to help you in sharing the Gospel message.
Finally, invite and share with your neighbors.
Inviting others into your home is opening your doors to the love of Christ. We are to be ambassadors for Him (2 Corinthians 5:20). Invite a neighbor to coffee, a potluck, or a backyard picnic. The Holy Spirit has empowered us—just like Paul.
God desires us to be witnesses in the very place we live. We can begin the global mission, building a new foundation in our neighborhood. Paul challenges us to these frontiers by his words and example. He went to the peoples who had never heard the gospel. We need backyard missionaries, now more than ever. Fulfilling the Great Commission means not only crossing the world, but also crossing the street.