Lisa was a high school girl who wanted to make friends and share her faith in Jesus at her new school. She began by learning the names of five girls whose lockers were next to hers and writing them down. As she learned more about her classmates, friendships blossomed. As friendships blossomed, Lisa used those new connections to share her faith.

Maybe you’ve been out of school for a while. So instead, consider five neighbors.

Like Lisa, maybe you don’t know your neighbors very well. Begin by learning their names and writing their addresses on a piece of paper. Then look for ways to learn more about them. As you discover hobbies or special interests, write them next to their names. As you learn more about them, look for ways to pray for them and engage at a deeper level.

Place your list where you’ll see it often to spark a prayer for them each morning or evening.

Some helpful reminders:

  • Don’t be weird or have bad breath. Don’t be that pushy neighbor who oversteps their bounds. Look for opportunities to learn more but don’t act like this is a military mission.
  • Don’t treat people like projects. Care about people. Ask, “how are you today?”, or “how did you spend your weekend?”, or “I saw that Mustang you’ve been driving, tell me about it”.
  • Do listen. When you ask a question, wait for the answer before you move to your next thought. If you’re not listening to them, why should they listen to you?
  • Write stuff down. When a friend shares something about their hobbies taking note will give you something to pray about & remember when you talk with them next. It really does help.

These things aren’t a magic wand that opens every heart to God, but you’ll be surprised how genuinely caring for people will change your relationships. As they ask you what’s your purpose, tell them you care because God cares for them.

Let people know that you’re praying for them. When Lisa shared that she was praying for her friends, some asked her to pray for deeper concerns they had. The relationships went from praying for them generically to very specific situations they were facing in school and at home.

Curt Vanderstelt, Mariners Youth Director