Our current situation is one that may make us feel like someone hit the pause button on life. Plans and dreams have been put on hold until such a time as we are let loose from our homes. While on one level this may be true it needs not to be. I have watched as church leaders, pastors and laity alike, have adapted and adopted new approaches to ministry while holding on to the very core of who we are as God’s people. That core is centered in the hope of the Gospel and God’s ability to overcome even death.
We have all heard the cliché, “When one door closes, God opens a window.” I have been wondering what windows are being opened for us through this pandemic. Part of my work is focused on helping congregations discover how their unique identity connects with their ministry setting. For many of us, we have lost touch with the communities we live in. Long before the virus, neighborhoods shifted from places of connection to individual kingdoms of isolation.
It is interesting that this pandemic has caused many of us to find our castles to be prisons of sorts. The places that have been a refuge from the busy world are now places of loneliness and boredom.
To counter these feelings, many have done something we have perhaps not done in a long time, walking around their neighborhood. I for one have taken my dogs on more walks in the past two weeks than usual. I have also noticed that a lot of my neighbors have done the same. Families, seeking to escape their homes have taken to the streets on foot and bicycle.
Is this one of the windows of opportunity that God is opening? No this isn’t the time to stop all those folks and tell them about the love of Jesus. (Ok if that’s your calling go for it but do it at the appropriate distance.) I see a great opportunity for us to get to know more about our community and the people who make it up.
What if you turned walks into an opportunity to help your congregation know more about who your neighbors are? Here are a few questions to ask yourself while you are out walking:
- Who lives in your community?
- Age/Life Stage
- Family Composition
- Socio-economic Levels
- What do you observe about housing?
- What types of housing do you see? Single family, apartments etc.?
- Is it similar to your own?
- Is it well kept?
- How is God already working in the community?
- What is “good news” for the people of the neighborhood?