Neighboring as Spiritual Practice

What if Jesus meant that we should love our actual neighbors?  In The Art of Neighboring (Baker, 2012), Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon encourage church members to be intentional in their relationships with their literal neighbors.

Pathak and Runyon provide resources on their website.  A short video introduces the neighboring movement.  Church leaders are given guidance on how to connect with other religious communities and civic leaders.  And, perhaps most usefully, a small group discussion guide provides a framework for people to explore neighboring at church.

The sessions each have four parts.  Each begins with an intriguing question:  What factors did you consider before choosing your current residence?  On a scale of 1 to 10, how hectic is life right now?  What is the best party that you have ever been to?  A short Bible passage is followed by two basic questions:  What do you like about this passage?  Do you have any questions about these verses?  Reflection/discussion questions and concrete, doable action steps complete each session.

The authors are clear:  this is not an evangelism strategy.  Moving into genuine relationship with our neighbors, however, involves learning to share our stories.  The Art of Neighboring joins a growing collection of resources at the RCC that help us do that.  Contact us for more ideas.