A Post from Bobby Vaughn on “missional” living!

Good post from the Northwood Church blog (Bob Roberts)…definitely says it as it needs to be said – it is much more difficult to be a follower of Jesus in your own context than in a context in which you don't belong.

"I have a confession to make.  As a pastor, this isn’t easy for me to
say.  5 years ago I would have rather have gone to Vietnam and love the
people “over there” than go to my next door neighbor and get to know
them.  It’s so much easier, cleaner and gives me that warm fuzzy
feeling inside.  But my confession doesn’t end there.  Here’s the long
and short history of my adventures on Latania Lane.

wife and two daughters (at the time… I now have 4 daughters, but that
is a story unto itself) moved to Keller, Texas December 23, 2005 from
Grand Junction, Colorado.  On one of the first evenings in our new home
we were sitting on the floor unpacking boxes when we heard what seemed
to be a mob outside our front door.  I eased over to the blinds, trying
to be sneaky… ‘cause, you know, you don’t want to look like the nosey
neighbor, and peeked through.  There, on my front lawn was a group of
about 8 to 10 people just standing there talking and laughing.  Now,
I’m from Colorado – the “rugged individualism” state – and this sort of
behavior was just peculiar.  I couldn’t figure out why all these people
were just standing there… having conversations!  My wife, being the more curious of the two of us, ventured out to see
what the commotion was all about.  She was gone for almost an hour. 
When she returned she says to me, “They just hang out and talk… almost
every night!”  The Church Planter side of me immediately thought, “Wow!
We don’t have to work at community here!  They do it for us!”  But my
second thought was, “Uh oh.  If they’ve already built community among
one another, what’s left for me to do?” Crazy thought, I know.  In the
following months we learned that our street celebrates holidays
together, we play together, we camp together, we laugh together and cry
together… Latania Lane is our family and home away from home. Like family, we fight, but also like family we forgive.  Over the last 4 years, I have had several people call me their pastor,
even though they do not attend church (some of my neighbor’s scars from
“church” run deep).  You see, I learned something from Bob Roberts and
NorthWood Church – something that some people don’t understand and
criticize us for – and that is that we serve not to convert, but
because we are converted.  I love my neighbors to the point where I
would not hesitate to lay my life down for any one of them.  And I know
they feel the same.  The fact is, most of the time my neighbors
minister to me more than I do to them.  They know my glaring defects,
my hurts and my struggles and love me anyway.  I know their defects,
hurts and struggles… that’s what makes family.  Why do we as followers of Jesus oftentimes choose to look past our
neighbors?  And when we do try to get to know them, why go with the
intent of not loving necessarily, but to convert?  Like Bob says, don’t
get me wrong!  I want every one of my neighbors to know Jesus and
follow him, but banging them over the head with my Bible won’t get them
there.  Bob’s international involvements have taught all of us at NorthWood
some valuable lessons, but the most important lesson he has taught us
all is that love is the way to see transformation.  I’m going to talk
to my fellow NorthWood-ers for a second. Don’t be like me.  Don’t go to
Vietnam, Mexico, and Haltom City and forget to love your immediate
neighbors.  Don’t sacrifice your neighbors’ because you “did the work”
somewhere else. 
Love your neighbors.

One thought on “A Post from Bobby Vaughn on “missional” living!

  1. “banging them over the head with my Bible won’t get them there.”

    Yeah, learned that a long time ago. It’s the “love your neighbor” part I’m still working on. After I figure that out, I’ll start working on loving my enemy.


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