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July 19, 2023 / by Jim McClure

Mindy and I have lived in our home for 16 years and have had the same neighbors since moving in. I became good friends with two of the men, and we regularly talked and helped each other with home projects.

Both men were named Terry, so we called them Terry and “other” Terry. Last year Terry passed away, and “other” Terry retired and moved away. Two of the best neighbors ever were gone. There was no way that whoever moved in could replace my friendships with them. One day, I looked at the block map on our fridge, which we had received during the Art of Neighboring sermon series. We were going to have new names to add to the map. I then decided to intentionally practice the neighboring principles we learned in the series with whoever moved in next door. We will see what comes because of it.

A young man and his father moved into the house next door, and I watched as they settled in. After about a week, I saw the young man in the driveway and walked over to introduce myself. We exchanged names and made some small talk. After a few minutes, he looked at me strangely and asked, “What do you want?” I explained that I simply wanted to introduce myself and welcome him to the neighborhood. He now greets me with a wave when we see each other outside and occasionally have brief conversations. I am looking forward to getting to know him and his father on a more personal level. We now have their names on our block map and pray for them regularly. It is the first step, but we pray it will lead to the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.

I am grateful that East White Oak introduced us to the Art of Neighboring. A few lines from the book changed my perspective on who lives just a few steps away. It reads, “When Jesus was asked to sum up everything into one command, he said to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbors as ourselves. What would happen if every follower of Jesus took the Great Commandment literally?”

Jim and his wife Mindy have attended East White Oak for over ten years. Their children, Rece (20) and Aubrey (13), are active in the church as well. Jim is an AWANA leader and has taken several short-term mission trips with the church to Colombia. He works as a Network Technician for Comcast. He enjoys cooking, BBQ, and traveling with his family.