One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

Matthew 22:35-40


 "What would happen if every follower of Jesus took the Great Commandment literally? Is it possible that the solution to our society’s biggest issues has been right under our noses for the past two thousand years?"

– The Art of Neighboring


WHAT IS THIS INITIATIVE?

The Love Where You Live Initiative is an attempt to obey Jesus’ command to love our neighbors in simple, tangible, and practical ways. Our goal is to become the kind of neighbors God would want us to be—helpful, kind, open, graceful, peaceful, and loving. We love these people who live near us because we are God’s people, period. We have no ulterior motives or hidden agendas. We simply believe in the value of integrating our lives with the neighbors around us, listening to their stories, sharing our stories, and knowing that God will ultimately open the opportunity to share His story.


 "We don’t love our neighbors to convert them; we love our neighbors because we are converted." 

– The Art of Neighboring


The Bless Initiative

B – Begin with PRAYER.

- Fill out the neighborhood pray card so that you can remember them by name.
- Pray for your neighbors by name, every day, with your prayer card.

L – LISTEN to them.

- Don’t preach! Don’t say, “I know just how you feel.”
- Listen more and talk less.
- Ask good questions…about them…

E – EAT with them.

- Invite them over for dinner—it’s an invitation to life and authenticity.
- Something powerful happens when we gather at the table—communion is created.
- They should be invited to your table, before you invite them here to our table.

S – SERVE them.

- Be attentive to their needs.
- Actions always speak louder than words.
- Ask permission to cut their lawn; notice what’s going on with their kids; watch to see if they are stressed out all the time. 

S – SHARE your story.

- Watch for the right time to share your journey and the story of God in your life.
- At some point this will be a by-product of your interaction.


#1 The Ride Of Your Life

 

#2 Breaking The Barrier

#3 Jesus On Relationships


 "Every neighbor is different, and every person who is trying to love others has a variety of gifts to offer. We all have various strengths and weaknesses. But if we allow ourselves to get involved in the lives of others, miracles can happen." 

– The Art of Neighboring


Resources:

Listen to Pastor Ross’ podcast called “Love My Neighbor.” 

Download the Block Map and write down your neighbor's names and where they work—remember, this is a personal document for prayer and getting to know them.

Read the book, “The Art of Neighboring” by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon.

You can get to know the heart of the initiative and how over 300 churches are working together on the Christ Together Greater Austin page. 

There are also great resources on these ideas on Kristen Schell's website.