Walk, Don’t Wave

by: Gary Foran

A basic element of missional living is building relationships in the neighborhood where you live. But this is not easily done. We are fighting the isolationism that is common in modern American neighborhoods. The classic example of this isolation is when neighbors drive home from work, hit the garage door opener, pull in, and then close the garage door behind them. They then spend their evenings indoors or in a back yard surrounded by privacy fences. As a result, most neighborhood relationships are extremely superficial. Transforming relationships will have to be more than a friendly smile and a wave when you happen to spot your neighbor on the other side of the street.

So how do we answer this challenge? For me an important answer is in my neighborhood mantra, “Walk, don’t wave.” When you see your neighbor, the normal neighborhood practice may be to smile and wave, but don’t do it! Instead make it your practice to walk over to talk for a few minutes. If they are out in the driveway or yard, or out walking the dog, just drop what you are doing and walk across the street. At first you may not know what to talk about –but go ahead and ask for advice on lawn care or get a referral for a plumber!

This simple practice can be the beginning point for deep and meaningful relationships, so walk, don’t wave.

Gary Foran leads Gateway’s network initiative in Round Rock, a suburb northwest of Austin, TX. He is also one of the trainers in ELI’s Cultivate training.

In cased you missed it check out  this clip from Creating a Culture of Authentic Relationships, part of ELI’s Cultivate Training. Gary Foran shares candidly about doing church at church versus living church in your own neighborhood:

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