Meet my friend Glen. And after my wife Sharon most mornings Glen is the second person to greet me. Glen is the Club Manager at the local Planet Fitness where I work out. Glen has an AWSOME beard and a wicked sense of humor! He always makes me (and the hundreds of other club members) feel as if we belong.
On a recent Friday we had a group of people over from around our community who are interested in blessing their neighbors; we don’t all go to the same church, and some of the folks aren’t followers of Christ. It’s a great group!
There was a knock at my door at 4:30, and I panicked. They were early! It was my neighbor from around the corner who had signed up to bring cheese. She told me she had broken her hand earlier that day and wanted to bring the bag of cheese by in case she wasn’t able to make it. Goodness!
She had her situation handled, and we prayed for her that night. Funny enough, someone else brought cheese, too! I saw her at church two days later, and her hand looked horrible! I told her I’d make her and her husband some macaroni and cheese with the bag she brought, and they said that would be perfect.
My week got away from me (I’m a horrible neighbor!!), and I wasn’t able to make the dish until Saturday. She said it would be fine, so I brought it over to her that afternoon. She invited me in, and I got to chat with her about the weather, kids, and hand injuries. As luck would have it, she had an event to go that night and needed a dish to bring; she asked if I would mind if she took it with her so she wouldn’t have to run to the store and cook something. How perfect! Of course I didn’t mind!
It makes me smile to think that the cheese she signed up to bring last week means that she has something to bring to an event this week, even if it is a little cheesy.
Summer Cromartie - Missional Practitioner & Good Neighbor
The Forge Dallas Missionary Residency Program is a 5-month journey that equips women and men to live as missionaries where they live, work, and play. And DON’T let that word missionary scare you!
Missio is the latin root where we get our word “missionary” and it simply means “sent ones.” Jesus tells his followers then and now, “… as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”~ John 20:21
What that means is that we are ALL “sent ones!” And as “sent ones” or missionaries we adopt rhythms of life that reorient our daily lives around the mission of God in the various places (contexts) he has placed us. In this series we will take a glimpse at B.E.L.L.S. (a set of missionary practices as introduced by Michael Frost, Forge Co-founder in his book Surprise the World) and discover how a few simple practices can be life changing for us and others!
One way our family has adopted the missionary practices of B.E.L.L.S. is by committing to bless three people per week, at least one of whom is not a member of our church. Here is just one recent example of our life on mission:
Have you ever eaten so much you were uncomfortably full? My wife, Holly, and I recently took a blissful trip to Chili’s Restaurant where we had a terrible time deciding on one of their many delectable appetizers. Our solution, let’s get four! I’m not exaggerating, we dug into parmesan sprinkled fried cheese curds, fajita chicken nachos, perfectly grilled cheeseburger sliders, and savory skillet cheese fries. Our waitress looked at us with crazy eyes, but we persisted. I’m not afraid of a challenge! As you might imagine, I lost this one. I gave those appetizers my best shot, but sadly, stumbled out of Chili’s way too full and with a to-go box.
Naturally, Holly had to drive because I was nearly incapacitated. We definitely had our fill of Chili’s for the time being, yet, we still had a to-go box full of good food. I reclined way back in the passenger side seat of the car as we drove home, thinking about what we were going to do with all this food, and then Holly and I remembered B.E.L.L.S. and our commitment to bless those God has sent us to.
We had the privilege of stopping by a neighbor’s house on the way home, a beautiful couple with custody of eight of their elementary school age grand-kids. They gladly accepted the late night snacks for the kids and welcomed us into their home to catch up on life. Holly and I were so blessed by their company, friendship, and gratitude, and I think they were blessed to have a night where they did not have to come up with food for eight kids on an extremely tight budget. God was in that living room and it was so rejuvenating to join Him.
I tell you this story to give you a very small glimpse into the way we are living on mission. Our eyes were opened to the opportunities all around us after we went through the Forge Dallas Residency. In the residency, we learned to see and act differently. We learned to be counter-cultural and step well into the places we live, work, and play.
To learn more missional practices and about Forge Dallas' Residency Program, contact me, Kevin Davis, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next Residency Program kicks off in January 2019!
Stored in my guest bath and dinning room hutch are more than 30 brand new candles I have received from my very loving, gift giving students. So I ask myself, “What on earth am I going to do with all these candles?” Two people can only burn so many, and truth be told, more will come my way from my little lovelies this next school year.
While enjoying some time with one of my dearest friends, Jill, I shared the story about the surplus supply of candles. Jill shared from her heart, “Why don’t you pay it forward to the families in your neighborhood?” That was it! The light bulb moment! “Brilliant idea, Jilly!” So that is exactly what I have done this year. When a new neighbor moves into our community of 153 townhomes, and guess what I bring them? That’s right, a candle from my collection.
Recently, when a friend from a nearby block stopped by my house as she was walking her dog, she shared that she had been laid off. The next day, I packaged up one of the candles and wrote a note to her reminding her that I care, and I will join her in her prayers as she waits on God to meet her needs. One of the ladies in Forge Dallas said to me, “Sharon, I think that candle will remind your neighbor that Jesus is a light shining in the darkness of her life, and she will also remember that she has a friend who cares for her!”
I love what Lance Ford and Brad Briscoe say in their book, Next Door As I t Is In Heaven: “They challenge us just to be the neighbors who extend compassion and care, who bring the neighborhood together, to see shared spaces as venues for common grace, and who notice the kingdom of God in our midst.”
Thank you God for all these beautiful symbols of your love that I can share with those in our community. A simple, thoughtful, faithful presence that has the power to transform our world one neighbor at a time.
Sharon Mustain is a missional practitioner and Forge Dallas' First Lady