Texans are scared of below-freezing temperatures. And by below freezing, I mean below 60 degrees. But now that the days are warming up, Pearland's neighborhoods and parks have begun to wake up.
This is a perfect time to begin or rekindle relationships with neighbors. Relationships are vital to serving your neighbors and sharing the gospel, because its only within meaningful relationships that you learn opportunities to serve and share. You can't love your neighbors if you don't know them.
I asked two of our missional community leaders, Daniel and Kyle, for ideas on how to connect with neighbors. Here's what they came up with:
1. Be in the front yard. Don't hide behind your privacy fence and garage door. Drag your yard toys from the back yard to the front yard. Pull out the kiddie pool and the bikes and encourage neighborhood kids to come play. Their parents will follow. Go on walks on Sunday afternoons, when everyone's outside. Remember, rest and play are rhythms of life. You're doing this anyway -- why not include others?
2. Eat in the front yard. Another rhythm of life is eating. Bring out the grill and the crawfish boil, and eat outside. Prepare more food than your family can eat, so you're ready to invite any innocent hungry people you see.
3. Bring people with you when you go out. You've been there. It's 4:30pm and you have at least four hours till bedtime. What are you going to do? Let's go to the park! Do you know who else is killing time? Your neighbors. Before you grab the shoes and water bottle, shoot a text to neighbors to let them know where you're going. (You have their phone number, don't you?) Be sure and include them in your bigger plans, too -- strawberry picking at Frobergs, bike rides, tennis, ice cream shop, Astros game, splash park, beach trip.
(The next two take a little more planning, but are sure to result in fruitful relationships.)
4. Partner with your MC in kids' sports leagues. This takes a little more planning, but if you and another Covenant member are both putting a kid in soccer or baseball or dance, why not find a team which works for both of your families? By joining together, you'll gain so much in community and mission. Your children will grow in their friendship; your families will grow in your friendships. And you'll be able to share the responsibility you have as missionaries to the other teammates and families.
5. Celebrate key holidays and events with neighbors. March Madness, Easter, River Oaks Tennis Championship, Cinco de Mayo, Summer Fest (with Pearland Parks & Rec), Memorial Day, Last Day of School, etc.
These are great ideas, but don't let Daniel and Kyle hold you back. Brainstorm with your missional community and covenant group on how you're going to take advantage of the spring for community and mission.