Give Me That Mountain!
Love Your Neighbor
We know a great deal about the people we love—their likes and dislikes and what motivates them. We study and observe them, taking careful mental notes. However, Jesus also told us to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31). To love our neighbors as ourselves, we must study them and get to know them. For some, this can be difficult.
The average American moves 11 times  during a lifetime. This constant shifting makes it difficult to get to know your neighbor. It also makes it difficult for a church to know and reach the changing neighborhood around it. But we must know our neighbors to love them and reach them with the gospel effectively.
Who is our neighbor? Jesus answered this question in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Anyone we encounter, no matter how different from us, is our neighbor, and we are expected to identify and meet their needs (Luke 10:37).
What do we need to know about our neighbors? Consider age (young people have different struggles than seniors), family status (single, divorced, married, widowed), financial status, and even health. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus addressed the needs of people to reach them, and these needs varied greatly. Nicodemus needed questions answered like the modern skeptic struggling to trust the Bible. The Woman at the Well needed a listening ear, like those entagled in sexual sin or bad relationships. Tax collectors needed to belong just like those today who are marginalized, isolated, and lonely.
By knowing more about our neighbors, we prepare to meet their needs, and sometimes, meeting a physical or emotional need is the gateway to meeting a spiritual need.
What are our neighbors like, and what do they like? Look at race, gender, vocation, and leisure time. Jesus knew He would run into a Samaritan at Sychar, find fishermen at the seashore, and tax collectors hard at work in the office. Knowing our neighbors creates opportunities to encounter them in places they are comfortable, get to know them, and, by God’s grace, reach them.
Communities are all unique and ever-changing. For more in-depth knowledge of your own church community, the Executive Office provides a Know Your Community report for areas within a five, ten, 15, or 20-minute drive of your location. We provide this vital information through Church Answers for $100. We can also meet with your church via Zoom to discuss results of the report, along with strategies for reaching your neighbors.
Each church receives information about other participating Free Will Baptist churches, creating opportunities to work together and learn more about reaching communities similar to your own, though geographically distant.
As we work together, we are becoming more effective at knowing, loving, and reaching our neighbors. Interested? Email email@example.com.
 A. Chandler. October 21, 2016. Why Do Americans Move
So Much More Than Europeans? The Atlantic: