swilliamsThis is a guest post from Stephanie Williams, a pastor at Mill City Church in Minneapolis, MN, and part of our 3DM Hub there. It originally appeared on her blog.

A Lack of Community

When I moved to my block in Minneapolis I quickly found out that it was an area of the neighborhood that had been somewhat neglected.

It is a transitional block with many rental properties. My house is one of the few single family homes around. Within the first year we lived here we found out that no one had any memory of a block party happening on our street. Even the two couples who have lived on our block for over 25 years had no memory of anyone gathering to celebrate our street.

This had to change

The perfect opportunity for any of us to step towards celebrating with our neighbors is National Night Out. This celebration happens tonight, Tuesday August 5, all over the country!

For the first time just a few years ago, our corner of Adams Street celebrated with our first ever documented block party! (Most of the houses on my block are over 110 years old so it couldn’t have been the first, but it was the first according to recorded history 🙂 ).

We roped off the street, brought out a grill, had a potluck, had some live music and ended the evening together dancing in the street. This has evolved to our block having the goal of throwing the best block party around. Our hope is that when each street is finished with their planned activities, ours will still be going strong and they can all join in. Which people have done!

As followers of Jesus, some of us aren’t partying enough

We aren’t stepping into the celebrations around us. Others of us are present at the parties… but are we being intentional as we celebrate with others? Looking for what God is doing in their lives?

When we look at the life of Jesus we see him celebrating! Jesus celebrating at weddings, at festivals and inviting himself over to other’s homes for dinner.

Jesus also uses a feast, a celebration, as an example of what the Kingdom of God is like. However, it’s clear in how Jesus speaks about this party, that everyone doesn’t RSVP. Some people don’t choose to celebrate because of the other guests who may have also been invited. Those guests don’t believe the right thing or act the right ways. So they come up with a myriad of excuses not to show up. (Luke 14)

Followers of Jesus should be known for their partying

People who not only show up to celebrate with their neighbors, but who do so with joy and intention. People who celebrate and party well and also remember it the next day!

Even through the hardest circumstances in our lives, we believe that the JOY of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 5:11) We have an opportunity to be the life of the party in a way that is meaningful and displays who God is!

If you want to lean into this, consider this challenge:

Intentionally party with your neighbors tonight

Google “National Night Out” and the name of your neighborhood to find a block party near you tonight!

Or step into another of the many reasons to celebrate:

  • birthdays
  • weddings
  • kids birthdays
  • grad parties
  • festivals of cultures other than ours
  • retirement parties
  • freedom from debt parties
  • Find any reason to party!

Let’s be people who RSVP to the party and who celebrate often!

As we celebrate with our neighbors, let’s pay close attention to what God might be doing in their lives. We might even get a chance to point it out to them.

Followers of Jesus should be known for their partying, because no matter what we are facing in life, we have the opportunity to share God’s joy!

OK, your turn: what are your stories of partying as followers of Jesus?

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