How you use your gifts and where you serve in the local church are super important (and necessary components in the lives of all believers). But what do you do when you go home?
I work in the church full-time as a youth pastor. That means I don’t get Sundays off, and I’m on the clock for over 13 hours each Wednesday. When I go home, I want to relax and be with my family. But that doesn’t mean my ministry is over. When I leave my place of vocational ministry, I enter my place of missional ministry.
Have you ever considered your neighborhood as your ministry? Think through this:
How many of your neighbors know your name? Your spouse’s name? Your kids’ names? What line of work you’re in? Where you go to church?
Do you know your neighbors’ names? Their spouse’s name? Their kids’ names? What line of work they do? Where they go to church? IF they go to church? Their background with the church? What do they think about Jesus? What do they think about you talking to them about Jesus? How many times have they been in your house? In your yard? In your garage?
These questions should get you thinking about one of the most strategic spots of ministry God has ever placed you in: your neighborhood. You are there and I am not. Therefore, take the Gospel. In the Great Commission Jesus told his disciples, “As you go” do these things. The assumption is that as a Christ-follower you are going to take the Gospel with you everywhere you go. So, as you go out to the backyard, invite the neighbor kids over to play and chat with their parents. As you go to the garage freezer for a popsicle, grab a handful and send your kids next door with the extras. As you bake cookies, make a plate for the neighbors (as long as they’re not allergic…which we found out the hard way).
Guard your private family time, but keep your garage door open the rest of the time. Be welcoming. Be friendly. Mow their front yard just because.
Be a good ambassador of Christ in the neighborhood you live in, for this is where you were specifically placed and therefore uniquely called. Do this well so that if you ever move, your neighbors are legitimately sad to see you go.
Reflect on these verses:
1 Thessalonians 4:10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.
1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[a] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel