As we launched our new series The Art of Neighboring, one of your assignments this summer is the Block Map Exercise. If you’re going to neighbor well, you need to actually know who your actual neighbors are. How many of your neighbors’ names adjacent to your home do you know? How many of them do you know some relevant facts about? How many on your block map do you know something even more in-depth about—their career plans, dreams of starting a family, significant experiences in their lives, what they fear the most, or where they’re at in their spiritual journey?
The authors of the book The Art of Neighboring share this statistic:
About 10% of people can fill out the names of all eight of their neighbors. About 3% know relevant information and facts about all eight of their neighbors. And then less than 1% knows in-depth things about all eight of their neighbors. Take a step back and consider what this means. Jesus said to love our neighbors. Sure, the teaching extends to our metaphoric neighbors—people everywhere in need. This extends to the people we work with, the parent on our kid’s soccer team, and even to the person on the other side of the world who is in need of a meal. But it also means our actual neighbors—the people who live next door.
How are you doing actually loving our actual neighbors? The goal of the Block Map Exercise is to help you move from “Strangers to Acquaintances to Relationships” in your neighborhood. By the end of the summer, make it your aim to know all eight of the neighbors you live adjacent to and begin to discover more meaningful things about their lives. Remember, neighboring creates opportunities to connect your stories and your neighbors stories to God’s story!