This weekend I finished reading The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon. I give it a hearty recommendation as a book that gave me just the kick in the pants I needed at this time in my life.
The book operates on the premise that many of us Christians do relatively well when it comes to loving our neighbors at church and inside our Christian ghettos, but not so well when it comes to our actual neighbors – those who live next door, across the street, and around the corner.
I think the book is written mainly for those who have already come to the conclusion that they need to reach out to their neighbors. It is less of a theoretical, “here’s why you should love the guy next door” kind of book, and more of a how-to manual for neighborhood ministry.
One of the strengths of the book is all of the examples of real people who made real sacrifices to show the love of Christ to those who live closest to them spatially. This book recommends a plan that doesn’t just look good on paper, there are people who are taking it seriously and working it out.
We have lived in our house for nearly seven years and as I look back over that time I see a handful of piddly attempts to love our neighbors. When I picked up this book, the Lord was already moving me toward repentance for my neglect of being a good neighbor, but the sad thing is that we are moving out of this house in about six weeks. There is still time for some small opportunity, but I urge you to pick up this book and ask the Lord to help you love your neighbors in light of his love for you. Don’t make the mistake I made.