Two thousand years ago, an expert in Jewish law asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied to the man, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:35-39 NIV).
So what is The Neighborhood Church all about? Love. Loving God and loving our neighbor. We don’t claim to have all of this figured out, but we’re intent on learning what it means.
We believe that when we grow in intimacy with God, we’ll naturally share the love we have received from God with our neighbor. Similarly, an important tangible way to love God is to love our neighbor.
So The Neighborhood Church is grounded on Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Years ago, at the center of nearly every neighborhood stood a neighborhood church that exerted a positive influence and operated as the hub of neighborhood life (remember those old “Little House on the Prairie” reruns?). These neighborhood churches rarely grew into impersonal congregational behemoths. Instead, they offered an intimate worship experience, biblical teaching, community, nurture, and the physical presence of Christ in its neighborhood.
At The Neighborhood Church we have a saying: “We want to grow but we never want to get big.” Relationships are important to us, and we believe that when people gather as the church, they want to see people they know. Deep down, they don’t want to get lost in a big church, they want to know other people and they want to be known as well. Here’s our dream: In order to foster a sense of intimacy in our church, when membership grows to a certain level, we hope to plant another Neighborhood Church in another neighborhood. Our dream is to plant twenty churches within the first twenty years. As God blesses our church, we hope to become the kind of place that people in our neighborhood will want to be–because they know the people at The Neighborhood Church care about them. In fact, we hope other neighborhoods like the feel of our church so much that they’ll ask us to help them plant Neighborhood Churches in their neighborhoods.