Everyone has a neighbor. Whether they live two miles away, right next door, or in the folding chair a few seats down at the kids’ baseball game. The people we rub shoulders with daily are the same people we are called to love with the love and message of Christ! Two women, Amy Lively and Sara Edwards, felt a strong pull from the Lord to make their neighborhoods their mission field. But, first, they had to answer a fundamental question: how can I love my neighbor without being weird?
Maybe that’s not the question you were expecting, but it’s the approach that Amy and Sara stepped into as they learned to love those around them wholly and well. With the unspoken rule of “good friends don’t make good neighbors” creating a distance between homes and hearts, these women studied what it means to build trust and relationships with neighbors.
Amy says, “We are told to share the Gospel with our neighbors but rarely directed how to.” Amy and Sara work under the premise that there is no cookie-cutter formula to love a person or to sharing the Gospel. Amy says, “No one is excused from sharing the Gospel, but our instructions are very different.” Each person we meet is in a unique place on his or her spiritual journey. It’s important to be intentional and take time to build real relationships filled with trust. Amy and Sara prayerfully considered what instructions the Lord had for them and their desire to share His love. They realized that they didn’t have to traverse the seas in order to be a missionaries and ambassadors for Christ when people in need of hope filled their day to day lives. The Lord laid on their hearts to simply invite these women into their homes for fellowship and it soon became a group study of God’s Word!
Amy says, ““Love people without pushing an agenda on them.” Amy and Sara have learned how to create real friendships and share life with the women they encounter daily. Beginning with simple conversations and get togethers, every woman can make a new friend and introduce her to the Lord. Amy and Sara have also studied how best to present the Good News to their new friends and desire to equip other women with the same skills to speak truth!
Amy created the Neighborhood Café--the neighborhood women’s Bible study--from following the Lord’s leading and it has now spread across the U.S. and gone international! Amy and Sara encourage every woman to ask the Lord for the specific community that the Lord has called them too. For Amy and Sara, it was their neighbors and they aim to help all women with the same call.
Amy currently lives in Colorado and Sara is in Georgia. It’s such a blessing to watch Neighborhood Cafés spring up in new places and strengthen communities and relationships! Amy has published a book titled How to Love Your Neighbor, Without Being Weird which provides truth and amazing tips on how to reach out to those nearest to you with the Gospel; even if you've never tried before! If you’d like to purchase her book or just get to know the Neighborhood Café better, visit howtoloveyourneighbor.com! Also see the website to access free Bible study guides if you would like to begin your own Neighborhood Café!
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Cornel Warren, Managing Editor of Live with Heart & Soul, shares her heart as she reaches Christian women with timeless, beautiful content to encourage and inspire their walks with God, themselves and those around them.