When he started discussing Asset-Based Community Development with people a decade ago, the Rev. Adam Barlow-Thompson said, “their eyes would glaze over.”
Barlow-Thompson -- co-founder of The Neighboring Movement, known in Wichita as SoCe Life -- began the 2020 Orders & Fellowship Gathering with a sermon that emphasized the simplest form of ABCD: Neighboring.
“Neighboring is bubbling up all over the place,” he said. “Our neighbors are the people who have this special power to bring out something good in us.”
Jesus, Barlow-Thompson told his fellow pastors, told us to neighbor, as illustrated in scriptures about Lazarus.
“This story really hit home for me,” Barlow-Thompson said. “Jesus is out there with my neighbor, and I need to be out in this space.”
Churches that take a neighboring attitude as they move forward can absorb some of the impact of a likely split among The United Methodist Church, Barlow-Thompson said.
“We have a lot of sunk cost in being church in a particular way,” he said. “We’ve been the church for a long time.”
Acknowledging “a lot of grief in the room” over the likely division, Barlow-Thompson said following Jesus and loving our neighbors can make a difference.
“Jesus is with us in our grief and our pain,” he said. “Jesus is out there waiting – with our neighbors.”
Watch the video of his sermon.
Contact David Burke, communications content specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.