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Growing Young: Be the Best Neighbors

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Being the best neighbors.

Churches that are growing young strive to be the best neighbors, both locally and globally.
Maintain a delicate balance as they interact with our culture and world.
They do not simply mimic the surrounding culture.
They are not so different from the world that they lose their ability to relate.
Recognize the careful dance that values both fidelity to Scripture’s commands for holiness and knowing and graciously loving their neighbor.
This affects how they serve, pursue social justice, help teenagers and emerging adults find their calling, interact with popular culture, and respond to heated cultural issues.

The Best Neighbors.

The best neighbors ask, “Who is my neighbor?”

Reflect selfless mercy toward the people outside their congregations - whether those are friends, strangers, or enemies.
Prepare young people to respond to the needs and the culture around them in more than self-congratulatory benevolence.
This attitude earns these churches a hearing in a culture that often otherwise dismisses them as closed-minded or judgmental.
You can’t go to war with the world, community, and culture you are called to reach.

Hospitable neighbors honor what’s good.

Consistently look to emphasize the good and to embody that good in faithful living.
Understand that young people are tired of a church that defines itself by what it is against, rather than what it is for.
Keep their radar turned to the good they find in culture and those outside their church.
Maintain both dialogue and relationship, even when they disagree.

Compassionate neighbors make their world better.

Focus on doing good, both in their neighborhood and around the word.
It is vital for churches to engage in service, acts of compassion, missions, and social justice.
Never separate spiritual needs from physical, emotional, and social needs.
Are intentionally aware of the needs outside of the church building.

Patient neighbors respect the journey as much as the destination.

Give value to the process of arriving at particular beliefs, positions, and statements.
Demonstrate a generous spirit when it comes to differing opinions.
Place emphasis on essential beliefs that can be shared, rather than exaggerating various differences.
Make space for safe and honest dialogue so that everyone can share their questions, beliefs, and experiences.

Wise neighbors help young people discover their calling.

Young people often struggle to find the right paths for both their vocational calling and their calling to serve their community.

Wise neighbors help young people discover their calling

Provide vocational guidance by helping teenagers and emerging adults locate themselves and their work in the light of a grand narrative.
Help teenagers and emerging adults to step away from hyper-individualism and consumerism.

Best neighbors avoid common pitfalls.

Aiming for perfection.
Copying and competing.
Condemning and critiquing.
Finding the one “right” program, cause, or social justice issue.

Ideas for action.

Know your neighborhood.
Diversify your contacts.
Brush up on culture though systematic listening.
Craft a theology of culture.
Tackle difficult topics with grace.
Start locally first, then expand globally.
Partner up.
Launch a vocation group.
Give them a clear “Why”.
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