We have now lived in the Springlake neighborhood in Newton for 4 years. Over those years we’ve had some new people move into the neighborhood and we’ve gotten to know some of our neighbors fairly well! Our kids like to play outside on bikes, scooters, and dirt piles, and they love to play with the neighborhood kids! That has provided some great opportunities for us, as we love to join our kids and play outside with them!
It kind of saddens me that many of the parents don’t play with their kids outside, but about a year ago a really neat family who loves Jesus moved into our neighborhood, and they play outside with their kids, and love the rest of the neighborhood kids very well! It’s great having the Powells on our cul-de-sac, and part of our church family now as well!
It has been neat to watch the relationships with our neighbors strengthen over the years. It just made sense that we would host a Summer Quest in our neighborhood and use that to minister to the kids and deepen our relationships with them!
Honestly, there was a bit of fear and anxiety in hosting Summer Quest. Would the kids come to our backyard? Would the unchurched parents who know we are part of Grace and know that I work for the church allow their kids to join us four nights in a row in our backyard to “brainwash” them?
And we are the “strict” parents on our cul-de-sac who don’t let our kids go into the neighbor’s homes. The neighborhood kids know that our kids can’t come over for sleepovers, and that they aren’t even allowed in the neighbor’s homes, so why would they come to ours? These types of questions lingered, but we decided to host Summer Quest anyway!
We did a prayer walk with the Powell family in our neighborhood the week before Summer Quest, praying for everyone whose names we knew, asking that the invitation to Summer Quest would be received well, and I believe God answered those prayers! Summer Quest went really well! We had some unchurched kids join us, and even come back each night! They had fun, and even the parents thanked us for doing it!
So the next step was to invite them to worship services on a Sunday morning! Leading the music at Summer Quest made for a great opportunity! “Hey kids, if you come to Grace on Sunday morning, I’m going to invite you up to the stage to sing some of these songs with me!”
One of the girls in our neighborhood taught me the floss dance during Summer Quest, so I even agreed to do it if she showed up on at our worship service! Sure enough, Alyssa and her parents showed up, and she MADE SURE that I knew she was there! So being a man of my word, I did the floss for a few seconds. It was embarrassing, but totally worth seeing the family in our worship service!
Maybe you wrestled with hosting a Summer Quest in your neighborhood, and decided not to. I don’t blame you, it’s kind of scary, but I ask that you strongly consider hosting next year! It will be worth it! God has “sent” all of us to our neighborhoods to point people to Jesus!
If that feels intimidating to you, start with prayer. Learn the people’s names in your neighborhood and begin praying for them regularly! When you take a walk, pray for your neighbors as you pass their homes! Then look for opportunities to get to know them. Don’t even bring up spiritual matters in your first conversations; just show a genuine interest in them! Church, let’s grow together in our love for the people around us!
Our family is excited to do this study from Philippians, my RightNow Media pick of the month:
This Sunday Pastor Jack will be sharing a Father’s Day message and Tom Unruh will be leading worship through song, as Mary and I celebrate 15 years of marriage on a beach in Mexico!
I love you church, and I’ll see you on Sunday June 24th!
For His Glory,