We talk about missional leadership and outreach into the neighborhood and pastoral care, but many of us are not equipped to do these things. Imagine if – especially in these days – we trained all our of people to be First Responders:
- There’s a snow storm and we need to know how to check in with our neighbors to see if they are okay. We need to check if they are warm and stocked with food. If necessary, practice the “Hi, I just wanted to check to see if you’re okay” dialog.
- The new couple across the street just adopted a baby and we want to be good neighbors. Ask if we could bring over dinner. Find out if there are food allergies. Deliver dinner in disposables. Drop off the food and go. (Don’t plan to stay for a long visit and – for heaven’s sake – don’t comment on how tired somebody looks or how it doesn’t look like they’ve had time to tidy up.)
- The single man down the street is recovering from hip surgery and his kids live in another state, and we want to offer support. Get the kids’ numbers in case you need to contact them. Ask if you can drive the man to his doctor or physical therapy appointments. Invite him over for dinner or take dinner to him.
I believe that if we all knew how to love our neighbors, our congregations would thrive in spirit if not in numbers. We can no longer assume that everybody knows how to do these things, but this is something the church could do: offer First Responder training for the neighborhood and beyond. It might seem rudimentary. But in our hectic, busy world – perhaps we’ve forgotten how to respond to someone in need. Or perhaps we never learned how to do it.
God forbid, maybe we’ll one day need to know how to tend to a victim of terrorism. Or maybe we’ll simply need to know how to help a lonely neighbor. Church: this is a good place to being figuring out how to care for others.