The gospel is the story of God jumping into the world, coming to us, and walking in our shoes. God did not create a stairway to heaven for us to climb, but instead went to marketplaces, dinner tables, weddings, and parties. God came to us and went to the parties, served parties, and brought the best wine to parties.
In Portland, summers present one of the best times to enter new friendships and deepen old ones. People are out, people are happy, and people are looking for ways to enjoy the weather.
Last summer, a community in southeast gathered every Sunday night to host BBQs where they invited everyone they knew, and their neighbors, and their landlords. Throughout the summer and into the fall their relationships deepened. Today, they are walking through the Story of God with four couples from those BBQs.
Unfortunately, summers can come and go without a gospel community being engaged and present. There are two things we want to intentionally call each gospel community to do this summer: party and pray. Use the following questions and ideas to spark conversations in your gospel community. Then, commit to a plan of party and prayer.
God calls people to regularly celebrate his goodness and grace. When the sun comes out, how will we rhythmically throw parties, join parties, and serve parties?
How are you going to party this summer?
What would a good party look like in your neighborhood?
Take some time to also talk logistics such as who, where, how are we going to invite people. What will we do? What do we need to pull it off? What would be a blessing?
We don’t always have to throw the party. As a community say yes to celebration spots in our neighborhood, things like:
- Art Festivals/Street Festivals (Find out when your neighborhood is having theirs)
- Farmers Markets (Lots of these pop up in the summer, find out if your neighborhood has one an be committed to going or serving it.
- Movies in the Park (Go and invite those you are on mission to to come along, too).
- Music in the Park (Go, have a picnic, invite neighbors).
- Food Carts (Establish a time and regular rhythm when your GC will go and invite others into going)
- Sunday Parkways
Where/how are people gathering in your neighborhood?
Bring the “good wine.” When Jesus went to a party he brought the good stuff…he turned water into wine…not just any wine but the best wine they had ever had. We should be known for being generous in our contribution to parties, events and meals.
How can you serve your city this summer?
- Tip well at food carts.
- As a GC, volunteer to do clean up or tear down at neighborhood events. Find out when your neighborhood is throwing one of these events and serve it as the volunteer team.
- When you go to a neighbor’s BBQ stay late to clean up. Bring a gift for the host.
As you party, listen to the Holy Spirit and listen to your neighbors. Get to know their stories, needs, dreams and lifestyle. It is a powerful thing to learn. Ask them, “What’s your story?” Ask the Spirit, “How can I love this person and speak the truth and hope fo the gospel to this person?”
Commit as a gospel community to pray specifically for not-yet-believers that you can intentionally pursue this summer and invite into the “Story of God” in the fall. Take time to fast and pray for your neighborhood. Pray for the Spirit to lead and guide conversations.
Imagine that by the fall we know neighbors and co-workers’ stories. Our relationships have deepened. God has opened doors for the Gospel.
Let’s pray with faith that we will see people come to know Jesus through relationships built this summer.
Here are some ideas to pray with gospel intentionality this summer:
- Prayer walk your neighborhood weekly.
- Have special prayer gatherings as a community.
- Make a list of people you want to see come to know Jesus. Make cards with their names on it and pray for them daily.