As we walk through the COVID-19 pandemic as a church we want to equip our people to shine the light of Christ (John 1:5) in their neighborhoods and in our city. God has called us to live as ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) on earth and there is no better place to start than in our neighborhood. Here are some ways you can engage your neighborhood as a follower of Jesus. However, please stay up to date with the latest local and federal government health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and follow them accordingly.
Support RestoreOKC. RestoreOKC is our ministry partner in NE Oklahoma City. Right now bus lines are closing and making it even harder for residents to get to grocery stores. They have their Market open and available to their neighborhood, but added refrigerators and freezers are overloading their system. They need to raise $2,000 ASAP to accommodate this upgrade. Please consider giving here (choose Restore Farms campaign) to support our neighbors.
Start with the neighbors you know. Most of us know our closest neighbors. Reach out via text/email, leave a note in their mailbox, or knock on their door and ask if they need anything during this time and how you can be praying for them.
Reach out to those you don’t know. Most neighborhoods utilize the NextDoor app or similar tool to help connect neighbors to one another. If you are unfamiliar with the app, you can post information and any neighbor who uses the app can see your post. Use NextDoor to check for needs in your area and offer to get groceries for people. Also, be intentional about meeting neighbors in person when you see them outside or knock on their door and ask if you can help in any way.
Pray for your neighborhood. If you don’t already do so, now would be a great time to start praying for your neighborhood. You can pray for the neighbors you know as well as the ones you don’t. Pray that they would be healthy and would have their needs met during this season. Also, pray that believing neighbors would be intentional about shining the light of Christ in your neighborhood and that unbelieving neighbors would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Consider doing a prayer walk around your neighborhood praying over homes and neighbors and you walk by them.
Meet the needs of your neighborhood. Many of your neighbors will have unique needs during this season. You can offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, watch your neighbors kids while they work or run errands, cook a meal for someone, or meet a financial need for a neighbor who is out of work. Consider leaving a note in your neighbors’ mailboxes that lets them know you are praying for them and are available to help. Leave your address and contact information so they can get in touch with you. If CDC recommendations permit and you feel comfortable having people into your home during this time, invite neighbors over for dinner, games, or to watch a movie/tv show. If you do have neighbors over, be intentional about pointing them to Christ by praying before meals, expressing confidence and peace in God during this time, and loving them well. You might also consider inviting neighbors over on Sunday mornings to watch our Redemption Church recorded services.
Go outside your neighborhood. Local businesses are suffering from a lack of customers so consider ordering take-out from local restaurants when it’s not possible to dine-in and remember to tip well. You could also purchase gift cards from local businesses to use later. Think about places you regularly visit such as salons, dry cleaners, or coffee shops and reach out electronically or in-person to employees. When you are out and about in the community ask people how they are doing, offer to pray for them and meet their needs, and direct them to our website redemptionokc.com for online services. Consider keeping gift cards handy to pass out to employees and others you encounter.
The Gospel Comes with a House Key – Rosaria Butterfield
What Now When We Can’t Meet? Putting the Mission into Missional-Article by Ed Stetzer