FIRST-PERSON: A panoramic summer challenge
PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- Walk just outside your front door, and look slowly in every direction. You're viewing a mission field. God chose it for you when you moved in. It's easy to wave at neighbors as you drive by or say "hi" when you walk the dog, but will you make a plan to shine for Jesus with your actions and words this summer?
See each neighbor with the eyes of God -- as people He loves, who need to know His love -- even the neighbor who doesn't mow his grass. Loving our neighbor is the second part of what we call the Great Commandment (Mark 12:30-31; Romans 13:9-10). Try this two-step panoramic summer challenge.
Prayer walk your personal mission field -- your block, subdivision, apartment building or dorm hallway. If you live in a rural setting, you may need to prayer drive! Prayer walking simply means you pray silently and specifically as you stroll and observe. Do it often. Make a list of addresses, and add names as you meet people. Learn pet names. Discover needs. Involve your entire family. Ask God to give you opportunities to show His love and share about Him.
Panoramic neighborhood grill out
Host a neighborhood grill out. Email or hand deliver an invitation to each home on your list. Ask them to bring something to grill, a side dish to share, and a lawn chair. Create a relaxed, fun atmosphere with great Christian music and toys for kids. Use nametags and enjoy getting to know each person. Whether it's a small or large group, have a great time. In your conversation, invite each individual to your church if they don't have one.
A panoramic grill-out project could be a great church-wide project, too. Select a weekend and challenge every church member to invite their neighbors over with the intention of getting to know them and inviting them to church.
Our Southern Baptist Convention has about 10,000 awesome vocational missionaries across North America and in countries around the world. But you're the missionary that God called to your neighborhood. Now get out the grill!
Diana Davis is the author of "Fresh Ideas" and "Deacon Wives" (B&H Publishing) and wife of North American Mission Board Vice President for the South Region Steve Davis.