Discussion Guide: The Art of Neighboring Week 4

Getting Started

What “Next Steps” did you take over the past week in attempting to connect with your neighbors? How did that go?

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 4.

Discussion Questions

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone, either on the phone or in person, who was trying to sell you something? How did that interaction make you feel and why?

1 Thessalonians 2:8

”So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

How would you describe what Paul is saying here in your own words?

What is the difference between having an ulterior motive verses having an ultimate motive in a relationship with someone?

Leader Notes
Ulterior means something is intentionally kept concealed. An ulterior motive is usually manipulative. It’s when we do or say one thing out in the open but intend or mean another thing in private. Whereas Ultimate means the eventual point or destination of something.

What should our ultimate motive be in seeking to be better neighbors?

Leader Notes
We must never have the Gospel or evangelism be an ulterior motive in our neighboring, but we should always have the Gospel be the ultimate motive of neighboring. Meaning, our hope should be that as we learn our neighbors’ names and develop a relationship with them that they would see the difference in the way we live, ask questions about why we live that way, and the door would open to having conversations about our faith and Jesus and the Gospel. But we must first learn to love our neighbors where they are and as they are regardless of whether they ever come to know Jesus or not. It is because of our love for them that we hope the relationship ultimately leads to them knowing Jesus, but loving them first must be the primary motivation.

Dave Runyon, The Art of Neighboring

”We don’t love our neighbors to convert them; we love our neighbors because we are converted.”

How would you explain the differences between those two ideas?

Is it wrong, or bad, to want to see our neighbors come to Christ?

Leader Notes
Not at all. Again, it is because we love them we want them to know Jesus and His love for them as well. What is wrong, or bad, is if we treat our neighbors like they have some target on their back, or like they are a potential “sale” for the Gospel. We need to be upfront and honest about who we are while at the same time allowing them to be up front and honest about who they are and model the love of Jesus as we accept them in that place. It is only in genuine love that we will earn the trust and the right to tell them about Jesus in a way that they will listen.

John 15:12-13

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

What would it look like for you to love your neighbors with the ultimate motive of the Gospel as opposed to the ulterior motive of conversion?

Moving Forward

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.

Leader Notes

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.



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