A Loving Our Communities to Christ interview
with Fresno, California CityReacher Paul Haroutunian,
Loving our Neighbors Project Coordinator
The Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle: First, you gotta LOVE IT ~
Alan Doswald and I, in discussing the impact the church is having on the world, came up with three distinctives that we think are helpful in creating what we believe is a necessary paradigm shift. Most of us intuitively believe this, and this has been helpful to us. The three shifts.
- From "pastor as minister" to "everyone a minister"
- From seeing evangelism as an "event" to a "lifestyle"
- From you'al come to you'al go
One of the best ways I feel to simply communicate this is Prayer-Care-Share. James Overholt, explained to me the origin of prayer/care/share. "It represents the "irreducible minimum" of biblical evangelism principles, and the term was coined. My take was that every major evangelism effort involved one or more of these elements, and they therefore represented a pretty simple-yet complete-picture of not just our responsibility as Christians, but also a very effective approach to teaching the concepts and then implementing outreach efforts.
The Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle: Next, you gotta LIVE IT
Walking down the block
My wife and I like to take walks at night. It gives us a chance to connect and process our days together while we get a little bit of exercise at the same time. We have noticed another unintended benefit-we are starting to get to know our neighbors. One little boy yells out, I remember you...and we smile back. Recently as we were passing by a house a man and his wife were standing outside, and he yelled to us, look up, that's the international space station. At the particular moment we were walking you could see the space station with the naked eye. It was one of the brightest objects in the sky. Wow. I had no idea. And that started a conversation. We met his wife and child, and after a nice conversation we walked on. I commented to my wife, isn't that cool the way God sets things up so that we are walking by his house at just the right moment to see the space station?
A couple of weeks later as we were just minding our own business and walking by, he just happened to be outside again. He said hi, and we had a very lengthy conversation, and spiritual things came up. He mentioned God first.
My wife and I are so excited about this. Currently we are giving ourselves to 20 minutes of prayer each evening, starting with some scripture reading. We have been praying for a long time to connect with our neighbors. We think this is a start of an answer to prayer. Will you join us in living an intentional prayer, care, and share lifestyle? We think this chance meeting is more than a coincidence.
The Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle: We need many who will LEAD IT
We had the privilege to host Pastor Lynn Cory in November. He was able to share how his church has become more intentional about loving their actual neighbors, and enlisting everyone in their own mission field--Their neighborhood. We had over 20pastors join us. A quote from one lady to Lynn, "Oh I see what you're trying to do, to get us to live this 24/7." Exactly. What would it look like for you and I?
I feel like the message is being refined to live a prayer/care/share lifestyle in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle: It will spread as we LINK IT
There are others who are doing a good job on Loving our Neighbors.
Here are a couple of books that have proved helpful.
The Neighborhood initiative
The Art of Neighboring
Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon
The Art of Neighboring is written as a primer on the current neighboring movement.
The book is a challenge for all of us to love our actual neighbors. The strength of the book is the variety of testimonies the two share. They show, we can do this: no...we must do this.
Editor's Note ~ Additional links: