My Neighbor — Good fences make good neighbors." Robert Frost writes in Mending Wall. Is he right? Maybe homemade chocolate chip cookies or lending a lawnmower are more neighborly. I guess it depends on who your neighbors are.
David Fitch is B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary Chicago, IL. He is also the founding pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community- a missional church in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. He coaches a network of church plants in the C&MA linked to Life on the Vine. He writes on the issues the local church must face in Mission including cultural engagement, leadership and theology and has lectured and presented on these topics at many seminaries, graduate schools, denominational gatherings and conferences. His most recent book, co-authored with Geoff Holsclaw, is Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts into the Missional Frontier.
What is Gospel Neighboring?
We should ‘be the gospel’ and not just argue for the gospel. It makes no sense to argue for the gospel unless it is compelling through how we live our lives. So we enflesh the gospel and are present with our neighbors.
David’s Favorite Gospel Neighboring Quote:
“The chaos and misery of our lives is the raw material out of which God is making his new creation.” – N.T. Wright
“I urge you to ignore the criticisms that come from people like me. Forgive me and ignore me.” – Some Missio Alliance Chap
Important Lessons Learned in Gospel Neighboring
The cultivation and suffering of every day takes years to manifest fruit in a neighborhood.
We need to have a “stick to it” mentality when it comes to our neighborhood.
We need to “hear the voice of God” as we are on mission, but it takes the entire church to discern the Spirit.
Focusing too much on “community” can keep the church introverted.
Having a meal in your home with neighbors is potential Eucharist.
Action for the Next 24 Hours
Practice being present with your neighbors. Be with your neighbors and listen to them because the Holy Spirit is present in your interactions.
David’s Final Bit of Gospel Neighboring Wisdom
The key to sustaining life is presence. God’s presence in us and us being present to him.
David’s Essential Gospel Neighboring Resources
Prodigal Christianity by David Fitch
Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent Donovan
Relational Pastor by Andrew Root
Connect with David
Infamous Boston Irish mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, spent 15 years hiding out as retired couple "Charlie and Carol Gasko" on a quiet block in Santa Monica. The discovery of the Gaskos, in an apartment crammed with cash and guns, made headlines around the world and turned the block into a media circus. Writer Gideon Brower, who lived across the street from the Gaskos, talks to residents of their apartment building about the couple, the arrests, and why America’s most notorious fugitives were actually pretty good neighbors.