In January 2009 a group of Denver pastors gathered to dream about how their churches could join to serve the community. They asked the mayor to come and talk about his dream for their city. They also asked him to identify the hindrances that would keep that dream from materializing. He came with a list of chronic issues and troubled groups of people: decaying housing, hunger and homelessness, at-risk kids and elderly shut-ins. Before he spoke he shared this: “It occurred to me that what our city really needs are good neighbors. The majority of the issues we face would be eliminated or drastically reduced if we could just become a community of people who are great neighbors.”

The pastors were first stunned, then excited. The mayor, in effect, expressed that the city could be transformed if Christians would simply live out the second half of the Great Commandment in community service. Mark Butler, police chief of nearby Longmont, Colorado, says that “for 80 percent of the calls we receive, people do not need a uniformed officer; they need a neighbor.”

  • From Missional Spirituality, by Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson