If “Love your neighbor” remains a core command for followers of Jesus, both as individuals and as congregations, then “Who are the people of our neighborhood?” (cue Mr. Rogers’ theme song) remains our core question.
But before we can ask “who?,” we first have to ask “where?”… Where are the practical boundaries of our neighborhood?
After all, we don’t have the wherewithal to show infinite love to everyone everywhere. Unlike God, both as individuals and as congregations, our love has limits. Limited time, limited attention, limited space, limited resources. So we have to prioritize how and where and to what end we will spend those resources to reap the most good for the most people. In other words, we have to establish reasonable boundaries for “our” neighborhood to which we will open our hearts and our doors.
Back in the old days, when denominational affiliation was more important to people than it is now, hierarchies established our boundaries for us. These were both our “fishing ponds” (the area from which our people would come) and our “cure of souls” (the area for which we were responsible to serve).
For many reasons, those kinds of boundaries don’t work any more. So how do we define the area in which we will cast our nets and for which we will take responsibility?
MapDash for Faith Communities offers two ways to ask these questions: one is called “MissionWebs,” the other DriveTime Boundaries.[Read more…]