I survived the painting and assembling. So far. I'm getting more settled in my new home, but there's still a fair bit to do. Thanks for enduring the silence!
Some of you asked me to expand on what I said earlier about being purposeful in creating a home for hospitality and outreach. I am glad to share my thoughts, though I am sure there's nothing very novel about them.
Everything starts with my dining room table. As I searched for a new home in an urban area, I realized that many of the more affordable spaces (read: smaller) seemed to be oriented to going out. There might be space for a sofa and a small kitchen-sized table, but the appeal was not in having room to bring others in, but rather for the ease of getting to the places you wanted to go. My real estate agent soon realized I had three criteria as I evaluated a potential home: 1) space for my dining room table; 2) ease of visitor parking; and 3) FiOS service for a high-speed internet connection. I was fortunate to find a place where all three criteria were met and then some. But from the start, I was planning for having people in my home for various events. I believe this is critical in my role as part of a church-planting team. I want to get to know others in my church and other in my neighborhood -- and I believe that can be done more effectively in my home than in a restaurant.
I am also thinking through how to create a neighborly feeling among the residents near me. With the holidays coming up, I am thinking about hosting block parties and other events that might connect the people living on my street. I am fortunate in that three other families from my church live within walking distance and others are just a few minutes by car. Like many churches, we are trying to be purposeful in developing a sense of community outside of church meetings -- the kind of relationships where we live life together doing things like running errands for one another or watching each others' children.
Finally, and most importantly, I am praying for my neighbors and asking God to give me opportunities to get to know them. Right now, I am still making introductions and waving at folks I don't know as they go by. But I trust more significant relationships will develop over time.
So there you go. Like I said, nothing truly profound. But because I moved to be part of a new church, my focus from the start has been on building relationships. And my prayers are that the sacrifice of time and expense to make this move will bear Kingdom fruit.
I am also eager to hear any other ideas you all have about ways you've invested in your neighbors. Please post those comments so we can all learn!