Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield exists to make Christ-centered disciples of its neighbors and the nations. In 2022, church leaders are asking the Lord to lead members to build strong, loving relationships with their eight closest Missouri neighbors as part of a neighboring initiative being called “We Are Neighbors.”
The initiative launched on Jan. 2 with the first sermon in a five-part sermon series.
As part of the initiative, Ridgecrest is rolling out six different challenges during the year and offering several classes, conferences and sermons focused on neighboring. The six challenges are expressed as Pray, Meet, Act, Gather, Serve and Invite.
Additionally, Ridgecrest Baptist will host the “We Are Neighbors” conference March 5 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. in its fellowship center. Registration costs $10. To register online, visit https://www.ridgecrestbaptist.org/neighbors.
“We are spending the year encouraging our members to learn the names of all their neighbors, then build relationships with them through common interests and shared experiences and sustain compassionate and caring practices of neighborly love,” said Kelsey Kleier, missions director at Ridgecrest.
Changing perspectives on neighbors
Studies show that most Americans now believe a good neighbor is someone who is quiet and leaves them alone. The initiative challenges Christians to change that narrative and demonstrate what it means to love their neighbors with active, Christ-like, sacrificial love.
“Ridgecrest also has a unique opportunity here because we’re on the southwest corner of Springfield. We have a lot of members in Nixa, Ozark and Republic. How can we, as a congregation, reach out to, bless and encourage these communities?” Kleier asked.
Individuals working on the neighboring initiative say Ridgecrest member households can develop positive, loving relationships with 11,700 area residents based on a recognized metric.
“We are encouraging our members to not only focus on God’s heart for the nations and what the Lord is doing all around the world but to set our eyes on those people that are around us. How can we encourage them? How can we strengthen them? How can we be a friend?” Kleier said.
For more information, go to https://www.ridgecrestbaptist.org/neighbors.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was originally published by The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.