How is your congregation engaging the neighbours around the church building? What is your congregation doing to be an integral neighbour to your neighbours?
A helpful book for congregations interested in connecting with their local neighbourhood is The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community by Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight Friesen. The book summary at Amazon states,
‘When . . . faith communities begin connecting together, in and for the neighborhood, they learn to depend on God for strength to love, forgive and show grace like never before. . . . The gospel becomes so much more tangible and compelling when the local church is actually a part of the community, connected to the struggles of the people, and even the land itself.’ Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens and Dwight J. Friesen have seen―in cities, suburbs and small towns all over North America―how powerful the gospel can be when it takes root in the context of a place, at the intersection of geography, demography, economy and culture. This is not a new idea―the concept of a parish is as old as Paul’s letters to the various communities of the ancient church. But in an age of dislocation and disengagement, the notion of a church that knows its place and gives itself to where it finds itself is like a breath of fresh air, like a sign of new life.