The Neighboring Church
The simple practice of loving our neighbors has more power than the best professionally produced Sunday “show” in town.
After attending the “coolest” and fastest-growing church in town for a few months, Brian Mavis asked some of his neighbors if they would attend church with him. The neighbors said, “Thanks, but no thanks. We don’t want to be part of an institutional church … but we do want to know more about God, and we’d be happy to meet with you to learn more.” So Brian began meeting with his neighbors in his home to share the love of God.
And there it is—the call for us as Christians to do what Jesus said matters most:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart … and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37–40)
But loving your neighbors is hard work, right? It’s messy. It’s unpredictable. It’s time consuming. Jesus’ two commands give rise to more angst, more wrestling, more failure, and more challenge than anything else you can try to do. And yet, following those two directions will bring more clarity, joy, and satisfaction to your life than anything you have ever experienced before. For the very first time, you will probably feel you are doing what God really called you to do as a Christian and as a church or ministry leader.
In The Neighboring Church authors Brian Mavis and Rick Rusaw explore the hows of loving your neighbors. After all, loving the Lord with all your heart and following his lead automatically means loving your neighbors, because he loves them so much. Brian says,
Neighboring is about teaching, encouraging, equipping, and releasing Christians to love their neighbors. I am compelled to be part of this movement because it is life-giving. It’s the most creative way I know to follow Jesus. Besides, it’s what he taught us to do.
And there it is again—the secret to doing what Jesus says matters most—the secret revealed in the book you hold.
It’s always great to hear from practitioners and not just theoreticians. This book is flows from the life of a local church that is leaning into the neighborhoods that are represented in their congregation. Brian and Rick speak from experience and give a number of practical tools that will help anyone that is trying to learn how to love their neighbors and leading others to do the same. They show a way forward for believers to take the Great Commandment seriously and literally.
– Jay Pathak, co-author, The Art of Neighboring
Becoming a Neighboring Church Study Guide
Becoming the Neighboring Church Companion Study and Launch Guide is two books in one. The Companion Study offers church leaders the opportunity to fully digest the content of The Neighboring Church book by Rick Rusaw and Brian Mavis by providing discussion questions for each section of the book. The Companion Study should be used with The Neighboring Church DVD which is integrated into each week’s session. This will prepare your church leaders including pastors, staff, elders, key influencers, and others to launch neighboring in your church. The Launch Guide is a full church-wide campaign manual for launching The Neighboring Life study to your entire congregation. The Launch Guide gives practical steps on recruiting a launch team, preparing for the launch, recruiting group leaders, forming new groups, and all of the details you need for a successful launch.
The Neighboring Church DVD/Streaming Video
This video teaching is a companion to both The Neighboring Church book by Rick Rusaw and Brian Mavis, and The Companion Study and Launch Guide for The Neighboring Church. Use this video training with your staff to equip your church for neighboring. Speakings on the video include Randy Frazee, Oak Hills Church, San Antonio, Texas; Dave Runyan, co-author of The Art of Neighboring; and many others.
The Neighboring Life Study Guide and Video
Jesus gave his followers two commands which we call the Great Commandment: Love God and Love Your Neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). What if we literally loved our actual neighbors? Not just the people we might pick and choose, but the people living next door and across from us. Some might start by getting to know your neighbors’ names. For others it might mean praying for their neighbor or serving them. This isn’t an evangelism strategies. In fact, we don’t love our neighbors to win them to Christ. We love them because we are Christians. Think of The Neighboring Life more as a spiritual discipline than a ministry project. After all, your neighbors won’t like to be treated like a project anyway. But, everyone appreciates kindness. The study guide and companion video curriculum is designed to help you understand the nature of neighboring, to inspire you with stories about neighboring, and to motivate you to take action, even if they’re baby steps, in your own neighborhood. No special talent is required. Everyone can be a neighbor!