In Our Own Backyards

During the summer, we took the gospel to people in our own backyards—literally.

Last summer, our small group didn't study the Bible. We didn't pray much together either. And worship was definitely out in our group.

Instead, we had picnics, played Pictionary in the back yard, washed cars, baby-sat, threw a party, and attended a few others.

We began planning these summer activities when we began our group last fall. The idea was to invite neighbors to join us in our fun and get to know them better. We also did service projects around the neighborhood—nonthreatening kinds of things like holding a free car wash on the cul-de-sac near our house and providing free baby-sitting for the young couples in our neighborhood so they could have a night out on the town.

In the fall we got back to our usual small group schedule. We used the "Building Your Marriage" study by Dennis Rainey in the Family Life HomeBuilders Couples Series. And we invited all our newfound friends—a bunch of young couples in the neighborhood—to join us. Later that autumn, after they had a chance to see that the Bible is relevant to real life, we planned a Bible study—the book of John.

By then our group had grown. And we prayed the Kingdom would grow too, as these neighbors met Jesus—first through our lives, and then through our actions, and then through a study of a relevant topic like their marriages, and then through the Word.

Oh, by the way, our group did pray last summer. We all committed to praying individually for each other and for the people in the neighborhood who don't know Jesus. We worshipped too, offering ourselves as living sacrifices to people so that they could see God through us (Romans 12:1).

Other Christians went on short-term missionary trips to places all over the world last summer. Our group ...

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