Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good News > Garages and Gates

Our high school group has been working through the fantastic curriculum Good News in the Neighborhood, created by my friends in ministry, Adam and Jon. This is more than just a teaching series on evangelism; this is about becoming a movement of good news, putting feet to the Gospel of Jesus and being willing to seek the kingdom outside of the four walls of a church building.

Each week has an experiment element to it, encouraging students to actually go out and do something. Experiments are a great way to foster wonder about God, and engage students far more than simply talking at them. This past week's experiment was both simple and life-changing: for one hour, acknowledge every person you encounter in a public place in your community. Make eye contact, smile, wave, say "hello." If the opportunity arises, have a conversation and hear a complete stranger's story. It's about really seeing people for the first time, choosing to acknowledge the imago dei and love people by breaking down social barriers.

Our culture of Mesa, AZ is defined by garage doors and gated communities. Some neighborhoods have gates on every sub-division and street, with different security codes. Our architecture and structure in the community allows for people to put up literal walls between themselves and others. We like to be protected, insulated, and comfortable. This experiment allowed for students to break down some of the invisible walls of individualism and isolationism.

This week, we shared about our experiences and put them all on sticky notes on a wall:

Students realized how awkward it can be to engage with a stranger, yet also how beautiful and freeing it can be to truly encounter another human being. Lovingly engaging with people can be awkward. We have a mantra for our high school volunteer leaders: we get to be awkward so they don't have to. Meaning, we choose to be the ones who initiate and inquire and invite, even when it pushes us outside our comfort zones.

We're learning how to become a community of Good News, because Good News is far better than garage doors and gates. We have a long way to go, but we're seeking the kingdom. And when the gates and garages and walls and barriers come down, we are able to see the kingdom of God far better in our midst.


  1. I just randomly high five'd a guy in Mexico when I read this. Seriously, thank you for both taking the risk on the Good News curriculum and sharing how God is using is working on your group through it. What a huge encouragement for John and I.

    1. Love that someone in Mexico got a high five out of this. :)

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    Peace, Love, and Blessings