- Phone: 562-597-2411
- Mailing Address: 2250 Clark Avenue | Long Beach, CA 90815
- Sunday: 9 & 10:45 am
In 2017, we made a goal to invite all of the neighbors in our apartment complex to a get together at our home. There are 155 other units besides ours so we didn't invite them all at once, but about 20 at a time each month. We went door to door and introduced ourselves, told them about our plan, and handed them a little invitation to our next gathering. Even though at first it was a little scary to knock on doors, the people we met were generally very appreciative and friendly and said that what we were doing was so nice. Sometimes just one person came, sometimes ten or so, but it was always a good time getting to know them and we continued to invite.
We’ve done different things together, at first all we did was prepare a few appetizers and provide a space for people to get to know one another. We’ve hosted ice cream socials in the common area and this summer have been having a monthly picnic by the pool. Everyone brings their own lunch, and usually something to share. It’s nothing super “spiritual”, but as we share our lives, we pray and trust God to work.
Those who came once, we invite again to the next gathering and many have come multiple times. We’ve had over 20 come, but there is a consistent core of 6-10 now and we are growing in our friendships with them. When you make consistent efforts, you may begin to see God work in ways you didn't expect. We met a Christian neighbor who has become an important part of our Growth Group and one of our non-Christian neighbors has started going to BSF with her regularly. We are praying that God would use us to not only be good friends to those around us, but also to share the good news about Jesus.
His salvation doesn’t just right our relationship with God or make possible right relationships with others, it calls us to the same mission that Jesus lived. His love and power that brought you into the family of God wants to work through you and others to bring more people into right standing with God and people. You can be used by His Spirit to bring good news and see captives freed; by doing so you will bring God glory and experience great satisfaction in His goodness. Each of us in the body of Christ has an important role in the mission Jesus left us to make disciples.
We encourage you to grab a few friends from Bethany and give going to your neighbors a try. You may be surprised by how much your efforts are appreciated. It is good to remember that even if we throw the best parties, nothing will happen apart from God at work. So now we also gather regularly to pray and petition God to act, to give us boldness and wisdom, and to grow His family. We know that we need God's help to do this so here are a few things we can pray for as we seek to be a church that will GO and be good news to our neighbors.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Luke 10:2
"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well." James 2:8
"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone..." Gal 6:10
"At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ..." Col 4:3
Do you have questions about how to reach your neighbors? Have you found creative ways to connect with people on your block?
Comment below to add the conversation.