Inner city pastor is inviting himself into his neighbor’s homes.
Not every community is the same.
For the last 20 years, I have lived in a very connected neighborhood. This is the kind of place where people walk the streets, kids attend the same local school in walking distance, and people see each other at the laundromat, at the doctor, at the local supermarket, or at church. Neighbors greet each other with great ease.
In short, I live in a very welcoming, accessible community.
Twelve years ago when I became a pastor, it felt normal for people to meet me at “the office,” which is a way of referring to our church building, during the week. I have also met with people at coffee places or at neighborhood taquerias. These kinds of public places to connect abound throughout our community.
It’s interesting how slowly and unintentionally a trend began to take root in me. Maybe it was a growing inner sense to not push myself into others’ privacy too much. Perhaps it was a way for me to relieve people from the anxiety of having to make their homes ‘presentable’ for a pastoral visit. The fact is that slowly I almost completely quit visiting people in their homes.
Over a year ago, in full honesty and with a repentant heart, a group of us friends began to evaluate our growing coldness and ineffectiveness towards evangelism. Was there something we had lost? What were we missing?
Almost simultaneously, we began to reencounter Jesus’ attitude towards homes. Most of the time if Jesus was not walking with people, He was at someone’s house. He seldom resisted invitations (which gained him a reputation of glutton and ‘party animal’). Other times, he unashamedly invited Himself into people’s homes.
Its funny to imagine how a modern-day Zacchaeus …