Be More Involved In Your Neighborhood

From Paul Tripp Ministries

I want to spend the beginning of this New Year with a Wednesday’s Word series on evangelism, shining as a light in a dark world, and living out the gospel in your neighborhood—that is, where God has uniquely placed you at work, school, and in your community surrounded by non-believers.

Every one of God’s children has been given a call to ministry, and every one must think of themselves as commissioned for ministry—to share the gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).

This call to ministry applies both inside the church and outside. But for the sake of this series, I want to focus on reaching the lost outside the church, where you live every day.

I want to propose that perhaps one of the reasons why we might not be as effective in sharing the gospel in our neighborhood is because we’re so busy trapped inside a Christian ghetto.

I have discovered (and am guilty of it, too) that how many Christians structure their lives leaves little time for the gospel in their neighborhood.

Between Sunday school, youth group, Sunday morning and Sunday evening worship, mid-week small groups, weekend men’s and women’s ministry, parachurch ministry involvement, and then all of our social interactions that only happen with other Christians, could it be that our schedules are so jam-packed within the Christian ghetto that we have little time or energy left to share the gospel in our neighborhood?

Now, it must be said that I am a massive proponent of ministry involvement inside the church. I have written all over the place: don’t be a casual attendee; give yourself to your local church!

A shocking amount of Christian consumerism exists in the church of Jesus Christ today. Many believers think of their church as a place to attend rather than something with which they are intimately involved.

Joyfully participate in all of its public and private ministries, sacrificially support its work, be active in areas that don’t target you but address the needs of others, develop intimate relationships, find ways to use your gifts there, and don’t let the imperfection of your church discourage you.

But that’s for a different series altogether! Today, I am simply asking us to evaluate our schedules and lifestyles. Are we creating conditions where organic evangelistic outreach can happen daily?

How often do you interact with your neighbors? I mean, truly interact with them—not just a casual wave and brief hello as you enter your car and drive away.

Does everyone on your street or in your housing development know you and who you have given your life to represent? Do you know them? I mean, truly know them—the story of their past, their present struggles, and their dreams for the future.

How involved are you in the local community, not just for the sake of improving your real estate value but so that you can facilitate natural opportunities to be a light?

“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15)

In the coming weeks, I’ll share a few ways to better interact with and engage our lost neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But if you’re so trapped within the confines of the Christian ghetto, will those opportunities for interaction and engagement even have time to happen?

We have been called to represent a glorious Savior who has graced us with everything we need to shine brightly in our neighborhood!

God bless,

Paul David Tripp

Reflection Questions

1. Where has God uniquely placed you amongst a community of non-believers (think about your work, school, neighborhood, circle of friends, etc.)? Have you ever thought of yourself as a commissioned minister of the gospel amid those people who don’t know Christ? How can God’s Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 reshape your perspective on a call to ministry regardless of your occupation?

2. How have you structured your life in a way that leaves little time for gospel work in your personal neighborhood? Is your schedule jam-packed within the Christian ghetto to the degree that you have little energy for sharing the gospel with others in your life who aren’t Christians?

3. In what ways are you creating conditions where organic evangelistic outreach can happen daily? Would you say that your neighbors know you and who you have given your life to represent? If not, how can you be intentional going forward to change that? What kinds of things can you do to get to know your neighbors in ways that are much more meaningful than a casual wave or brief hello?

4. Be intentional and brainstorm some practical ways to shine brightly where God has placed you in your neighborhood. Maybe write down a few ideas or type them into your phone. Now talk with your family, pray together, and keep one another accountable for following through with the ideas you’ve created.

Be More Involved In Your Neighborhood

New Hope Presbyterian Church Bridgeton, NJ

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