Living Sent in Your Own Neighborhood
May 12, 2017
In the summer of 2013, my family was new to our neighborhood. Having just moved a few months earlier from South Carolina, we purchased a house in Nolensville and settled into our new life in Middle Tennessee. Before long, the Children’s ministry reached out and asked us to consider hosting a Backyard Kids Club (BKC) at our home. Seeking an opportunity to get to know our neighbors and to minister to them, we said yes.
Our first step was to determine three to four dates in a row that were open on our calendar. Second, we alerted the Children’s ministry of those dates, and they promptly created signs and flyers for us to pass out to our neighbors. Third, my daughter and I spent a few hours a week before passing out flyers to the homes on our street that looked to have children. And lastly, we prayed that God would bless us with participants.
To our surprise, we had over 20 kids the first night. It was a fantastic week, ministering to kids and families, telling Bible stories, playing games, and singing songs. Even the two nights it rained and hampered our outdoor plans didn’t hamper our enthusiasm and spirit.
As we continue learning how to “Live Sent” by making disciples where we live, work, and play, through our current sermon series, I wanted to share a few things I learned through hosting a Backyard Kids Club.
- Hosting a Backyard Kids Club provides a great opportunity to know your neighbors. Families we least expected to participate did, and the relational connections that were made were such a blessing. Later that summer and fall, we saw many of the same families at the pool and other places in our community, and we were able to build on the relationships that began at the BKC. The first step to living a sent life is to develop relationships with people with the intention that the gospel is demonstrated and declared through your life. BKCs provided us an opportunity to do that.
- Hosting a Backyard Kids Club allows you to use your home as a tool for ministry. Let’s face it, my home doesn’t belong to me. God owns my home, and He has every right to do with it as He pleases, including building His kingdom in Nolensville. As we were looking for a home, my wife and I prayed that we would be a blessing to our neighborhood, and that God would use our home for His purposes. Within a few months of moving in, God gave us the opportunity to use our home for His kingdom expansion through a BKC, and it was such a blessing. Was it a sacrifice? Yes, but if our home can be a catalyst for one child putting his or her faith in Christ, the sacrifice is all worth it!
- Hosting a Backyard Kids Club earmarks your home as a place influenced by the presence of Christ. My wife and I want our neighbors to know that we follow Jesus and that He is Master of our home. We want our home to be a refuge for those who are hurting and a safe place for those who need grace and mercy. We found that after we hosted a club at our home, our home became known among some as a warm and hospitable place for kids and families. Neighborhood parents didn’t worry when their kids came to our house because they knew the environment was Christ-centered and their children were safe and loved. Shortly thereafter, we even started an off-campus LIFE Group that is still going on today.