Summertime... notorious for half-empty church sanctuaries (especially in August), may actually be the best time of the entire year to meet your neighbors!
Think about it. If you live in a climate where winter drives people inside, then the time to meet your neighbors is when you—and they—are naturally outside. And as summer comes to a close, you have a great excuse to invite the people who live near you to come celebrate with a summer barbecue!
What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself?"
Wasn't Jesus always looking for an opportunity to share a meal with those on the fringe of faith? In fact, He was known for it! Shouldn't Christ-followers be known for it?
Need some inspiration for your cookout? Find a local farmer's market and check out what's in season! Eating fresh and local is "in" (not to mention healthy), and is a great theme for your invitation.
Here are some tips for your event:
- If a cookout doesn’t work where you live, make the party a potluck.
- When your guests arrive, give them large name tags. Have them write their name in the center. Then in the four corners, ask them to write the name of the town where they were born, their occupation, a hobby, and a childhood hero. This information can serve as conversation starters.
- Include a time for each guest to talk about him or herself: a favorite summer memory, vacation, or a favorite thing about the neighborhood.
- Don’t connect your party with any particular church. This is simply neighbors getting to know each other, and you sharing your life with them.
- Do you have a neighbor who loves Jesus too? Ask them to help you plan it.
- Blanket your party—and your neighborhood—in prayer, before, during, and after the gathering.
Watch for God at work!