So you’re living in a neighborhood or an apartment complex or a condo or fill-in-the-blank.
You’re a Christian, so you understand Jesus’ command to love your neighbors.
One of the best things you can do is to start a Bible Study. It is a way that you can share the gospel, while at the same time learning about the deep needs (whether material, spiritual, emotional, or anything) that the individuals around you have. Then you can love them even better as you meet those needs through the love of Christ.
It is a way to teach people about Scripture. To share the good news that Jesus died for our sins and has called us to a good work to devote our lives to. To help people understand the God who loves them and provides for them.
But how do you start a bible study?
That’s the hard part, right? In a perfect world, you’d just ask everyone and they’d say yes, and then everyone would believe, love God, and you just start a spontaneous church plant at your house, and then do all sorts of good around the city.
But that’s not how it normally works out. It’s usually very difficult and you have to overcome a ton of cultural boundaries which are set up as biases against Christianity.
The important thing is to build relationships of trust. So people don’t think that you are trying to manipulate anyone or “just trying to convert them”.
Here is a list of ways you can start building relationships in your neighborhood, which can be an on-ramp to starting a Bible study under the right circumstances.The important thing is to build relationships of trust. #friendship #faith Click To Tweet
1. Start (or Participate in) a Neighborhood Committee
I like the idea of starting an independent neighborhood committee. That way you have freedom to do things how you like with the needs of the neighborhood defining the goals of the committee.
But whatever you do, be a part of one. You will build relationships with people who have the same interests as you in terms of taking care of your community.
As you build relationships talking about development, new families in the neighborhood, parks, and all that good stuff, you’ll get to know people. As you do, you might find people who are interested in meeting on a more personal level.
Maybe they’d be interested in a course you can teach on parenting. Or a course for life goals. And as you talk about these important things, people might become interested in a spiritual development course… a.k.a. Bible Study.
2. Invite Neighbors Over for Dinner
I hope this one doesn’t even need to be said, but for the sake of comprehensiveness, I’ll say it.
Have your neighbors over for dinner!
Not just the ones you’re friends with. Make new friends. Have a community barbecue. I recently had an outdoor concert and potluck at my house for the neighborhood.
Get to know people in an intimate setting over a meal. As you do, talk about the important things in life. Build relationships.
There might be an interest in spiritual things, in which case, you could start a Bible study.
3. Go to City Hall Meetings
But I don’t just mean that you should go. I mean that you should go and maybe send out a newsletter to your neighbors. Or maybe hold a small meeting in your community after the City Hall meeting. Relay the information. Talk about the issues.
In essence, this is kind of like “starting a neighborhood committee” from point #1 above, but it can be a lot less formal.
Again, as you work on the problems in the community, you’ll build relationships. Start a course on seeking the welfare of your city. It might be an open door for a Bible study.
4. Learn the Needs in the Neighborhood and Meet Them
Find out who has a child with autism. An elderly parent living with them for health reasons. Some sort of special need. Someone who can’t mow their lawn because they’re physically disabled. Single-moms or dads.
Learn what needs exist and take it upon yourself to help as needed. Obviously, don’t intrude. But offer yourself and the resources you have so that you can take care of your neighbors.
And when they see the love you have for them, offer to teach a course altruism and love. Don’t be afraid to bring in Scriptural passages because they have informed you and can inform others about meeting the needs of the community.
And maybe one day, it becomes a proper Bible study.Be generous with the skills and resources #God has given you. Click To Tweet
5. Start a Hobby Group
You play poker? Cigar aficionado? Wine connoisseur? Maybe you take a different approach to hobbies – rock climbing, hunting, camping. You’re a book lover or you play video games. Or maybe you play Dungeons and Dragons.
Whatever the thing is, there may be others in the neighborhood who are also hobbyists of the same sort or who might be interested in doing something with the group.
Find those people and start getting together to develop the hobby.
With similar interests, it will be impossible to always avoid talking about the things which are most important to you – Jesus and His saving grace. It will come up somehow over time. But you’ll still have a listening ear, because you are still the guy who makes a homebrew better than any micro-brewery around.
And maybe those group of friends might be interested in talking more about why you are so generous or can be so positive about life-difficulties or have such a good family (Hint: It’s all because of Christ, am I right?).
So start a Bible study.
Check out this older article about hobbies and the mission of the church.
6. Offer Your Expertise to Neighbors
Can you build furniture? Do you have the best lawn mower in town? Can you help people with taxes? Can you saw into concrete to put in a new window?
Offer your expertise. Help other people with practical things. Be generous with the skills and resources God has given you.
As you do, people will appreciate you. They’ll be open to hearing about why you do these things for others.
Tell them that they can learn all about it at the weekly Bible study you have in your home.
Also published on Medium.