A significant challenge for a Summit Fellowship is to consistently be a blessing and not an inconvenience to the neighbors. In some cities house churches have faced fierce opposition from neighbors who attempt to use zoning laws to prevent simple churches from gathering. The first line of defense against that kind of problem is being proactive and gracious in our relationships with neighbors.
So, if you don’t know your neighbors, what’s up with that? Making an effort to have friends who are neighbors is just, well, neighborly — and usually pretty fun. But that will be a lot easier if we aren’t creating headaches for them by being inconsiderate. Talk about making faith practical!
First, it’s important to be considerate concerning noise and commotion. When a group of people–even a small group–comes to a home regularly, we can get sloppy and take liberties without meaning to be an inconvenience. It’s a “golden rule” thing. We have a decorative sign upstairs that reads,
“You know that, ‘love thy neighbor’ thing? I meant it — God”
I think that’s doubly true when the church meets in a neighborhood. We need to be alert to our outside talking, indoor music, even to how our children play when church is meeting. Anything we can do to be considerate of the neighbors will reflect better on the gospel and on the church.
Finally, be vigilant about traffic and parking. Nothing irritates the neighbors faster than not being able to get into their own driveway or having no place for guests to park near their house. Yes, I know that street parking is public, but to insist on our “right” to park on the public street when it is a bother to a neighbor is to bring disgrace on the church in your home. As a matter of habit, we like to encourage the brethren to make sure only one car gets parked in front of each neighbor’s house (park as many as you want in front of yours and in your driveway) and leave a space by their driveway so it’s easy to turn in, or so there is a place for a guest to park.
Here’s the Summit parking poem:
One car in front of the neighbor’s place.
Beside the driveway, leave a space.