Alan Briggs, author of Staying is the New Going was our guest speaker on Sunday. The following thoughts come from his message and his book...
For a long time in our culture we have affirmed the idea of “going forth” –move up and move out. The grass is always greener, and somewhere over there life is a little more glorious. But what about the place you already live, the people you are already around?
It is time for us to embrace the theology of “staying forth” –to realize that God has put us in one specific place and we can work for the good of that place and honor Him right where we are. Every follower of Jesus should be a gift to their neighborhood, and the church should be a gift to its city. But often we are either unknown or known for the wrong reason. Instead we should be known as salty and luminous expressions of Jesus.
God wants us to love our neighbor right next door. He wants us to pray for the welfare of our zip code, to witness to the world outside our window. He wants us to be the church, the people of God, in conversation and meaningful engagement with the people He loves including those right on your street.
Here are two practical hints:
Get a new definition of hospitality. Don't think you need to be Martha Stewart to invite people in. People are looking for open lives more than a full table. Keep it simple and focus on the conversation.
Think about what you are already doing. Sustainable neighborhood ministry isn't about adding a lot of things to your schedule. Instead think about inviting folks into the things you are already doing. You can share a simple meal, invite someone to watch the game with you, open a box a popsicles with the kids in your front yard, meet another mom at the playground, etc. Do what you would ordinarily do but do it with gospel intentionality.
"God is more sovereign than your real estate agent! You didn’t end up at your address by accident. God has placed you there for a reason." - Alan Briggs
Staying is the New Going is available for purchase in our Next Steps center or wherever excellent books are sold!