Neighborly Love: Building Meaningful Connections With Those Next Door

Loving your neighbor is a common Christian concept, but living this out in today’s world of fenced yards and garages that enter directly into homes means many people can live their lives without ever having to interact with their neighbors.

While many of us may use traditional techniques, such as welcoming neighbors over for meals, starting a neighborhood prayer or study group or even neighborhood yard cleanups, there are other unique ways to serve and connect with those God has placed in our community.

Fostering relationships with neighbors allows for the gospel to be shared through simple and casual experiences. Jesus often shared love through simple acts such as conversation, food, helping the sick, spending time with kids and attending local celebrations.

With Jesus as our guide, here are some unique ways to reflect Christ’s love in your community.


Have you ever seen the 1990s show Home Improvement?

In that show, the neighbor’s eyes and hat above the shared fence were all that was shown of him, yet he experienced a deep connection with his neighbors because they talked. Family issues, funny stories, wisdom and major life events were shared over that fence.

Take the time to talk to your neighbor when they walk past with a dog or roll their trash can in.

Intentionally spend time in your front yard or areas where your paths might cross in order to open this avenue for connection. Resist the temptation to smile and wave simply. Walk over to them when saying hello. Ask questions and answer theirs.

Show them that you can be a listening ear and let them get to know you. Once the walls of formality have been broken down, opportunities abound.


Be aware of your neighbor’s needs.

We lived next door to a 90-year-old woman at one point. There were times when my husband mowed her lawn, when I carried in her groceries and when my children rolled in her cans.

Maybe you see your neighbor’s weeds growing long. Offer to lend them your weed wacker. Are they trying to wash windows without a ladder? Bring yours over. Would a wheelbarrow or shovel help them?

My husband always offered car help if he saw someone with a hood up since that is his area of expertise.

Look for opportunities to give what you have.

Another aspect of sharing is to ask your neighbors for help. That same 90-year-old neighbor lent me foil, salt, butter, saran wrap and more over the years, as well as mending some of my girls’ clothes when I asked her about it after learning she could sew.

If you have neighbors with kids, pass down your children’s outgrown bikes, books or toys.

Sharing time can also help. I made sure the working moms in the neighborhood knew that their kids could come to my house after school, and a few times, when something came up, they did!

Sharing can break down barriers and emulate the generosity of Jesus.


Create a space in your neighborhood that physically welcomes others in. We built a “Little Free Library” at our old house and filled it with excellent books. Neighbors, from college kids to toddlers, would use the library. We even had a family traveling in an RV stop by when they saw it registered online.

That book box allowed us to meet many people.

We were also able to fill it with Bibles and books such as The Case for Christ and The Jesus Storybook Bible.

During the pandemic, we added a large sign to our front yard that said, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). We lived right near an elementary school, and countless parents walked and drove past our home daily.

We were surprised at how many people stopped to talk about our sign!

How can you make your physical spaces welcoming for others? Is there a fruit tree or flower bed out front where you can place a “pick me” sign? Could you put a bench out front for people walking by to rest? Scripture painted on rocks in the yard?

Consider your neighborhood and what would bless others: A water station on a hot day, small free bouquets in spring, extra garden produce, sidewalk chalk for neighborhood kids or a tree with encouraging messages tied to the limbs.

What starts in the front yard may someday extend to your backyard or inside your home as your intimacy with your neighbors increases.


People are accustomed to isolating living while in a neighborhood, and little treats or gestures of love can make a big impact.

Holidays often provide a good jumping-off point for this. My children have delivered May Day baskets with a poem or scripture attached, delivered valentines to doorsteps, brought muffins on Santa Lucia Day, and so much more.

Cookies, bouquets, and cards were regular doorstep surprises for our neighbors, and when we moved, we found out that one older couple had saved every note our kids had delivered over the years.

One time, I passed a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies over to the partying college kids who lived behind us. They were elated.

These simple gestures showed our neighbors that we were thinking of them and that they mattered to us. It revealed to them that we were not only concerned about our affairs.

Living Out Love

One another should always move beyond our own families and church communities and into the world around us. What we do in our own homes and with our close friends can be extended to the people that God has placed us in proximity.

As our neighbors watch us piling in the car, Bibles in hand each Sunday, they are also thinking about how we live every other day of the week.

The way we interact with them should be an outward reflection of all that we are learning inwardly on those Sundays. God has told us that “whatever we do” can be for his glory. Therefore, how we mow our lawn, walk up our front walk, talk to the lady walking her dog, help the child who fell on their bike, or decorate our front porch can speak of Christ’s love.

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