13 Sep Discussion Guide: The Art of Neighboring Week 1
Hand out the neighborhood block maps. These maps are a tool we are going to use to help us keep track of which neighbors we have connected with. We are going to bring these maps with us each week for the purpose of sharing stories and prayer requests on behalf of our neighbors.
Share about your neighborhood and the types of relationships that you have with the people who live on your street or in your building. On a scale of 1 to 10, how “connected” is your current neighborhood?
Take some time to pray for your neighborhoods/neighbors as we begin this series. Ask God to open doors and give you a heart and a desire to love your neighbors as you love yourself.
To begin the discussion, watch The Art of Neighboring video for week 1.
What was your big take away from this video? What did you like? What was difficult or confusing?
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.
If what Paul is saying is true, what implications does that have on our lives and the places we live?
The implication is that our lives, where we live, daily routines we get caught up in, are not meant to be about us primarily. God put us in the place and time He did so that we might seek after him and find him and He used specific people at specific moments in time to lead us to the knowledge of who He is. And, if that’s true for us, then it’s true for our neighbors as well. The fact is that God loves our neighbors so much that He determined they would live on the same street as us, His sons and daughters, so that they might seek after Him and find Him because He’s not far from them. And the reason He’s not far from them is because we’re not far from them, and where we go we take the Spirit of God and His Kingdom with us.
Would you say that you tend to view your neighbors with this reality in mind? Why or why not?
Bob Frie, Former Mayor of Denver, CO
“The majority of the issues that our community is facing would be eliminated or drastically reduced if we could just figure out a way to become a community of great neighbors.”
Do you agree, or disagree, with that statement? Explain.
Why don’t programs (government, church, or social) alone solve the problems of society?
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
How does loving God and loving our neighbor coincide with one another?
First, Jesus said if we love Him we will keep His commands and Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Second, when we fully grasp God’s love for us, and our hearts are moved to love Him back, then naturally we should want to share that love and express that love to others. C.S. Lewis once said that joy is not fully complete until it is expressed, or shared, with someone. Likewise, our experiencing the love of God is not complete until we express that to another. Understanding God’s unconditional love for us also gives us the resource to love those who are difficult to love. When we find our ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment in Christ, and therefore have no need of the approval or affirmation of others, then, and only then, can we give ourselves completely to them without expecting anything in return. God’s love, and our love for God, frees us up to truly love our neighbors.
What do you think could happen if we were intentional about getting to know and learning to love our literal neighbors?
What adjustments do you need to make in your life and routine to love your neighbors better?
At the conclusion of each gathering we will do 3 things. Often groups lose track of time and end up rushing through the second half of the content. We strongly believe that these 3 exercises are the most important part of this study. If you only have time to do one section each week…do this one!
Do the Block Map – Take out the block map and fill it in right now… just start with the names of your neighbors. Download Block Map here.
Go around the room and share how many of the names you knew? Did you have any epiphanies as you did this exercise? What did you learn or feel as a result of doing this exercise? Most people naturally feel a little guilty when they realize how little they know about their neighbors. Allow people to feel what they feel, but this is definitely NOT the time to try to make people feel guilty or that they are not doing enough. Allow God to work on people in HIS timing. As a host you might feel like you should know more of your neighbors since you are a host. Avoid that temptation. We are all on this journey together and we all have room to grow. Let people see you are real and honest and that you don’t have it all figured out either. Your group will trust you more for your honesty! Write the names of your neighbors by listing out the names of the adults and children of the 8 closest houses or apartment units next to you. Pay attention to the blank spaces Take a second and identify each of the neighbors and decide if they are a stranger, acquaintance, or relationship.
Identify one neighbor that you are going to pray for during the next week. Take time to pray in the group for the neighbors that were mentioned.
Share one small “next step” that you feel God is calling you to take in the next 7 days.