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 work-place. 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 a plane of religion after it is in the air.
Neighborhood Initiative provides a practical and scalable method your church can use to serve and build friendships with people in your local communities in a way that is natural and meaningful. If your church finds it challenging to reach those outside the church, I recommend you participate and learn from those who are experiencing success with the Initiative.
We have always made it a priority to love God with all our hearts, but through the Neighborhood Initiative we have begun to see, to know, to encounter, to befriend, to serve, to pray for, and to love our neighbors. There is power in simply obeying His command to love your neighbor.
I’m so grateful for the initiative that calls and embraces church leaders in our part of LA to meet in a partnership of prayer – a band of brothers and sisters, united in Jesus’ name to see transforming power penetrate our city and nation.