What Is Neighborhood Initiative?

 

“The Whole Church Taking the Whole Gospel

to the Whole City, One Neighborhood at a Time”

 

Simply stated, Neighborhood Initiative is the body of Christ at work in neighborhoods where God has placed us to bring about the transformation that comes through the power of His kingdom.  Neighborhood Initiative is not a program, but a work that God is introducing to bring revival in His church and transformation to our cities. It’s encouraging people to go out into their own neighborhoods to befriend their neighbors, open their homes, and lend a hand.

The seed of any plant has within its construct all that it requires to become what it will be at maturity. So like the tiny mustard seed, NI starts small in each of us and by God’s power has the potential to change the culture of churches, relationships between churches, and the communities where we live. As God’s kingdom work grows in us, and then through us, it will accomplish the construction of Christ’s intended church, one of flesh that extends to the hearts outside our facilities and well-designed programs, meeting people where they are just as Christ did. If this appears to be a “method” or “program,” which initially may seem systematic, I would say that is only because it may require a paradigm shift in our thinking about ministry.

Dallas Willard characterized Neighborhood Initiative in this way:

 

The great advantage of Neighborhood Initiative is that it provides a simple, accessible, and powerful way for every Christian to become involved in loving those around them with God-like agape love.  Deeds of love toward others nearby is exactly the “washing of feet” that Jesus exemplified and told us to do. It recognizes and overcomes the alienation and aloneness that sickens our world and extends right into the heart of our congregations and nearby communities.  It puts people first for Christ’s sake, not church first.  Discipleship to Christ is for the home, the streets, and the workplace.  It is not a particularly religious thing, though specifically religious activities can also benefit from it as they in turn serve real life in our neighbors. Neighborhood Initiative is a primary way in which people of all kinds can “seek the kingdom of God and its kind of goodness” from where they are and as they are. They don’t have to board the plane of religion after it is in the air.

 

(An excerpt from Neighborhood Initiative and the Love of God.)

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