After counting down for what seemed like months, summer has finally arrived! No more school, no more homework! As I stared down at my calendar and planned all the things I wanted to do with my family this summer, I paused and realized that we were very inward focused (on just our family) and not pointing us outward towards getting to know our neighbors. 

I will confess that is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. I do it more than I would like to admit. Between work and family, the thought of going out to meet new people can feel intimidating and daunting but let me just tell you IT IS WORTH IT! This past Sunday, our neighborhood hosted a Summer Kickoff Pool Party. We got home from church, and we were tired after a long weekend. The kids were getting cranky, and my husband and I contemplated if it was worth going to the party. We quickly realized that to truly be For Our Neighbors, we had to be WITH our neighbors. So we grabbed the swimsuits, sunscreen, and towels and made our way to the pool. We arrived to find many new families we had never met before, who literally live just houses away. The hours passed quickly, and the conversations rolled on as the kids played in the pool with one another. We got to know other couples and started planning other get togethers during the summer.  It was that simple, one little get together that sparked new friendship with others. One conversation, one common interest that brought together all these families to one place. 

This is why I am so excited about the For Our Neighbors Summer Challenge. When Jill Fair came to me with this awesome idea of fun and easy challenges to complete this summer; I knew it was something we had to do churchwide. The ideas are already created for you; there are so many different challenges to choose from. Whether you are introvert or extravert, there is a challenge for you that will help you connect with your neighbors. Remember, it just takes one little step, one little action, or one little conversation to start a new relationship. Start small the first week, take on a challenge you feel comfortable with, and then continue each week with another. Just think if our entire church took part in the For Our Neighbor Summer Challenge, how many people we could show the love of Christ to by simply getting out into our yards and meeting our neighbors. Think of the chain reaction that could occur if we all said YES to this challenge. So here I am, asking you to take on this challenge with me. Let’s get out of our comfort zones, break our normal schedules, and have some fun in our neighborhoods this summer. 

God has placed you in your neighborhood for a reason, and as followers of Christ, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). Let’s be FOR OUR NEIGHBORS together this summer!