ABOUT THE BOOK:
- Print Length: 205 pages
- Publisher: NavPress
- Publication Date: August 1, 2016
There was a time when neighbors knew each other’s names, when small children and the old and infirm alike had more than their families looking out for them. There was a time when our neighborhoods were our closest communities.
No more. Neighborhoods have become the place where nobody knows your name. Into this neighborhood crisis the words of Jesus still ring true: Second only to the command to love God is the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
In Next Door as It Is in Heaven, Lance Ford and Brad Brisco offer first principles and best practices to make our neighborhoods into places where compassion and care are once again part of the culture, where good news is once again more than words, and where the love of God can be once again rooted and established.
I was excited to see this book come out and could not wait to read it. The book was definitely a worthwhile read and one that I really enjoyed. I thoroughly believe that God created us as social, relational beings. We are made to be in relationship both with our Creator and with other people . We have been formed with an innate need to know and be known. Yet the current way of life in our culture is greatly reducing the quantity and quality of our relationships. We live in a society that is increasingly lonely where most of our connections come from digital space and are more superficial than meaningful. Our neighborhoods are not usually a place of genuine community but a place for us to retreat from those around us. Our relationships rarely overlap between the various spaces of relationships we form between church, work, shops and other places we frequent.
This is a book that is both convicting and compelling. It will move the reader to envision a life that is more integrated with their community and neighbors and challenge presumptions we all make as well as barriers from allowing this type of connection to occur. At the same time it is not just a book you read and forget about but one that is geared toward action and motivating the reader to live out and put into practice much of what is contained in it. Each chapter ends with reflective questions to help the reader wrestle through the content of each chapter prompting steps toward action.
There are many challenges that come with living in a manner Brisco and Ford espouses. We have an increasing need to feel safe and distrust those around us. We also have less relational margin and capacity in our lives on an ongoing basis. To live out some of the practices and principles in this book for many will take an intentional shift. Along with it will require a new way of viewing others and practicing hospitality. All of these are topics the authors tackle head-on to help the reader understand more clearly how to integrate these habits into their lives. With tons of practical stories to illustrate what this can look like in your own life; it is easy to begin to envision ways of adopting these habits into your own life and neighborhood.
I encourage you to grab a copy and allow yourself and be challenged in the ways you “love your neighbor as yourself”. All with the understanding that we have not come to save our neighborhoods. And we don’t bring the Savior to our neighborhoods. We come alongside the Savior who is already at work in our neighborhoods.
Take the Name Your Neighbor Quiz and see how you do!
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this book:
If we don’t interact regularly with people face-to-face, the odds are we won’t live as long, remember information as well, or be as happy as we could have been. (Kindle Location 228)
Two of the most important initiating principles for neighboring are to (1) take notice and (2) invite others to join you. (Kindle Location 434)
With little to no naturally developed social capital to draw on (and most Christians giving little to no thought to their role in bringing the good news of the kingdom of heaven to bear tangibly in their neighborhoods) even the most devoted church member’s greatest hope for their non-believing acquaintances is to somehow persuade them to visit their church, there to be wooed or wowed by the worship team, sermon, or children’s ministry, that fills up their church container. (Kindle Location 671)
Many of our community relationships are limited because we box people into an identity defined by their vocational role. We characterize people with what we see them do: the mailman, the FedEx guy, the dry cleaning lady, and so on. To only relate to a person in the sphere of what they do will not build an actual relationship. It will fail to see them as they really are— a whole person made in the image of God. (Kindle Location 869)
Many of us will need to begin our mission of neighborliness with the simple step of getting to know the names of our neighbors. Only then can we begin to know something about their actual lives. (Kindle Location 971)
We wrongly assume that one of the greatest needs in our lives is safety. But what we need most is connection and acceptance from other human beings.When we fear the other, our own world gets smaller and smaller. It is only when we open our homes and our lives to the stranger that we can see our world begin to enlarge. (Kindle Location 1172)
Without margin, we are unable to even think about planning time to spend with others. Margin creates buffers. It gives us room to breathe, freedom to act , and time to adapt.When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he isn’t inviting us into a race. Instead he is welcoming us into a life-giving relationship with him that should affect all of our relationships. (Kindle Location 1218)
We have not come to save our neighborhoods. And we don’t bring the Savior to our neighborhoods. We come alongside the Savior.
Praying over our neighbors by name and in light of any current crisis, concern, or just normal life situation we are aware of keeps our neighbors’ faces and lives on our hearts and constantly at the throne of God. Just imagine the power of prayer throughout a city, when God’s people pray for their neighbors on a consistent basis.