No matter where I have lived, and I have lived many places, I have loved learning to be really intentional and invested in the neighborhood, or area, that I call home. Some of you may have heard me say this before, but I love to intentionally; live, breathe, play, invest, work, eat, shop and worship as much as possible where I make my home. I started this lifestyle in my first apartment, before there was even “hyper-local” language.
Luckily for me, when I met Katie McLain – in a local diner – she liked to think locally like me too.
For years now, people have been saying the clique, ‘act locally, think globally.’ Unfortunately, while followers of Jesus have historically lived in that missional mindset (there are tons of historic stories), the modern-post-christendom-western-church is only starting to have these conversations. Sadly, for too many years we lived in a way that said we were focused more globally, than locally.
Side note, even as I write this, I have to chuckle as a few movie quotes from the 1996 classic, “BioDome”, are running through my head. This movie is about two guys that were just a little slower than everyone else – but get thrown into a really important conversation and environmental experiment.
Two years ago we explored the Art of Neighboring series at East Petersburg Mennonite Church. That served as a brief and good introduction into intentional living, or how we as followers of Jesus need to build genuine relationships outside of our personal doors, as well as outside the doors of the church.
This July, we are exploring a new series at East Petersburg Mennonite Church. A series we have called, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” In many ways this is building on our previous series, but also moving past it to look at the places God has designed the Kingdom of God to intersect with where and how we live. It will explore the theological implications of following after Jesus, to love God in such a way, that it contagiously pours out into the places we make home.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a three-week discovery into how God has called and equipped us to intentionally live out the mission of God’s Kingdom into our neighborhoods, so it may see it next door – as it is in heaven.
Now, obviously most of us can’t think about neighborhood life, without thinking about the Children’s TV Show, Mister Rogers. It has been said that he was the ‘best neighbor that any of us had.’ He exemplified a neighborhood life that most of us would desire.
In the opening song, for his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he sang “I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you. I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you. Could you be mine? Would you be my neighbor?” What would happen if we as followers of Jesus, his Church, would live in our neighborhoods in such an intentional and invested way that those outside the church desired us as neighbors.
Fred Rogers, the Actor that played Mister Rogers, once Said “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
Through this series, I want us to explore the story of God, to find the ways we can live out the gospel as neighborhood heroes.
We invite you to join us for “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” on Sunday mornings, 10a, at East Petersburg Mennonite Church. This series will run from July 9th – July 23rd, 2017.
You can find more information and past messages on www.eastpetemc.org