Encouragement From The Word

Building bridges with the community

Every day is a good day, as far as I’m concerned, but yesterday was an especially good day.  Let me tell you why.

I had two unexpected opportunities to spend time with people in my community, particularly in my neighbourhood.  Both were what you might call serendipitous (happy accidents, one could say).

The first occasion was at a local print shop.  I had stumbled across a lovely photograph that had been taken by Andrea Kollo of our church’s tower, with the tree in front in bloom.  It was a terrific picture, so I asked her if I could use it on the front cover of our Anniversary Sunday bulletin – to which she happily agreed.  It is such a nice photo, I thought it would be nice to print the bulletin cover in colour.  Having checked big-box store pricing, I thought I’d get a quotation from a local print shop.  So I got in touch with Lucy at King Print and Design, who came in with a great price.  I took the bulletin to the shop on a jump drive, and in the course of conversation, we realized that we are near-neighbours.  What’s more, she is a friend of a delightful individual in our congregation, who speaks well of our church – so Lucy, too, has a positive view of our church.  (She even printed the inside of the cover for me, as a favour.  I was really impressed.)  I look forward to more great conversations with her!

The second occasion came as I was walking home from the church in the evening, having called a meeting at which, apparently, none of those invited were able to attend – so I had an unexpected evening free.  On the way home, another near-neighbour, with whom I have had many chats, invited me up the driveway for a chat.  He and his wife and I shot the breeze for a while, getting to know each other even more than we did before.  Even though I would love to have had the meeting with the folks with whom it was set, I am convinced that God orchestrated it so that I could spend time with these neighbours!

For pastors, it can be hard to engage with the community, because we are notoriously busy serving the people among whom God has called us to minister.  So when those occasions arise to chat with folks who are currently outside the congregation, it’s great to be able to take the time with them.  It builds bridges.

The apostle John wrote, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4.7, NIV).  Make an effort to make friends with people in your community.  God can use you to build bridges!

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