Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 Days of Missional Living: When You're Neighborhood is Changing (Day 24)

A guest post

This morning I listened to John 13, the chapter where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, during Passion week.  They don’t know it, but Jesus will soon humble himself in some significant ways, not the least of which is to face the cross.  I was stuck on verses 3-4:   Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”  My immediate thought was that Jesus was willing to do unimaginable things because he knew he was returning to God.  I talked to a friend of mine about that, and what an example Jesus sets for us.  My friend said, “Yeah, Christ-followers should be willing to pay the rent.”  He meant that we can endure difficult things, because we’re going back to God.

There is relevance for me here, because our cozy little neighborhood is now being invaded by the construction of three massive apartment buildings, housing 86 apartments, just across the street from us.  Our sunset view is gone.  People are moving in, and some of them have noisy cars.  We think about property values and the changing complexity of our street.  My son had some items stolen from his unlocked car.  We had some things stolen from our locked car, after thieves had smashed our passenger-side window.  This hasn’t happened before.

Fast forward.  Lori and I have just started a neighborhood Bible study.  A small group of some sort...maybe what some people call a missional community, reaching out to neighbors, some of whom we’ve known for a few years.  It’s been a while since we’ve done that, but here we go again, starting new.  Today I keep thinking about what I’m willing to put up with until I get to go and be with God, and I’m inspired by the men and women of church Planting.  I’m starting to think we’re going to be reaching out to those apartment-dwellers, too.  On a small scale it’s scary, or at least inconvenient.  But we’re among a group of faith-dwellers all across this nation and world who continue to stretch for the sake of what’s eternal.  I thank God for the example of Jesus, and I thank God for the example of you.  

Tom Nebel is the Executive Director of Church Planting for Converge Worldwide. He lives in both Madison, WI, and Orlando, FL. He and his wife Lori, have two sons, Matthew and Andrew. You can follow him on Twitter @TomNebel1


  1. I like your attitude, Tom. I also am impressed with how Jesus handled his power. It's a little different than how most of us handle our power.

    1. Brian, great point. Jesus was a living breathing model of The Upside Down Kingdom.