Where Richard Stearns in The Hole in our Gospel (my book review in Dutch) challenges his readers to take the second commandment (love your neighbour as yourself) bloody serious, Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon stay close to home. What if Jesus meant that we should love our actual neighbors?
Modeled as a block map exercice the authors ask their readers to name everyone in the 8 houses around them, mention some basic facts such as profession, family size and hobbies, plus detailed, more personal insights such as needs and worries. Don’t worry, you’re not alone when you can’t fill out the 8 squares in the block.
Enter The Art of Neighboring. Forget about easy bumper stickering or have fellowship with believers only. Do your neighbors know you and vice versa? What should be the motivation to build relationships right outside your door? Try to sell them Jesus? Convert them, or just share your life. Show, don’t tell you’re a Christian.
Jesus Christ showed us He cared for the people around, his friends and once strangers, fans and opposites, Jews and Gentiles alike. Governments and faith-based leaders can work together to serve their communities. That’s one goal of the artofneighboring.com movement. But it does more. It encourages you and me to really reach out to our actual neighbors.
The authors deal with barriers we all know: time and fear. Take baby steps and be honest about your motives. And when you meet, greet and engage, you have to take care of giving and receiving (don’t be afraid, ask your neighbor what you’re lacking at the moment) and setting boundaries (you have your family as well, some people will oppose you or don’t want your attention, others will claim a disproportional share of it). A study guide with questions for your personal meditation or small group is added. Pathak & Runyon share their sources as well, from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-hour Work Week and Kenneth H. Blanchard‘s The One Minute Manager to Stephen Goldsmith‘s Putting Faith in Neighborhoods, Randy Frazee‘s The Connecting Church (Frazee also wrote the foreword), Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s Life Together and Max Lucado‘s Fearless. The Great Commandment of Jesus is not optional!
About the authors
Jay Pathak is the senior pastor of the Mile High Vineyard, located in a suburb northwest of Denver, Colorado. Prior to planting this church in 2001, he served at the Columbus Vineyard as a leader in its young-adult ministry, Joshua House, and as an intern to the senior pastor, Rich Nathan. Jay is a graduate of Ohio State University with a BA in philosophy and a graduate of the Vineyard Leadership Institute. He has spoken nationally and internationally for the Vineyard and other groups in both conference and classroom settings. Currently he serves on the National Board of Vineyard USA. Jay and his wife, Danielle, have two daughters.
Dave Runyon is the executive director of CityUnite, a non-profit organization that exists to help government, business, and faith-based leaders unite around common causes. He also works with the Denver Leadership Foundation in order to bring transformation to the city. Prior to founding CityUnite, Dave served as a pastor for nine years in the Denver area. In 2010 Dave led a neighboring movement that mobilized over 20 churches and 15,000 people in the Northwest Denver Metro area. He graduated from Colorado State University, where he studied history and secondary education. He speaks locally and nationally encouraging leaders to work together to serve the common good. Dave and his wife Lauren have four kids and do not plan to have more.
I received a complimentary pre-release review copy through netgalley.com. In return I serve an honest review.