Visiting house to house

Posted: June 14, 2013 by efenster in Ideas, Stories
Tags: , , ,

One of the historic questions of John Wesley that is asked of candidates being ordained as elders in The United Methodist Church is “Will you visit from house to house?”

Neigbhorhood shotThat’s just what I spent this past Tuesday afternoon doing.  I joined Steve Mekaru, who is one of the leaders developing a new congregation in my neighborhood.  Steve works for St. Joseph United Methodist Church, which has a dream of planting three new United Methodist churches within a ten-year period.  This suburban church has been in a relationship with a local public elementary school in urban Fort Wayne the past couple of years.  Out of its relationship with the school, the church is developing a new congregation in the school’s neighborhood.

So I joined Steve to go from house to house, praying as we walked the neighborhood.  We prayed that God’s spirit would guide our prayers, our steps, and our interactions with those we met.   We found ourselves in conversation with a family on their front porch where we learned about an unexpected death of a father in Mexico.  We enjoyed sitting in the shade of an umbrella with a neighbor, talking about the neighborhood’s children.  We prayed with an elderly woman who had just gotten out of the hospital and was likely going to have to leave her longtime home to live with family.  We talked with a tattooed biker chaplain who was being kicked out his apartment.

After each encounter, Steve would enter their names, addresses, and notes into his cell phone, so that he could keep track of his newfound friends and could guide those apart of the effort in how they could pray for each person.  And that is how we spent two hours that afternoon.  We went from street to street, porch to porch, house to house.  Led by God’s spirit.  Open to unexpected serendipities.

What about you this summer?  Bishop Michael Coyner, at our recent Annual Conference, asked our newly ordained elders if they would visit from house to house.  The elders all said that they would.  How about you?  Put on your walking shoes, get out of your office this summer, and walk your neighbor.  See who God puts in your path.  There are people who are relying on you to bring them the good news of Jesus Christ, and in some cases you’ll have to go house to house in order for them to hear.  So, what are you waiting for?

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

  1. Debbie says:

    Ed, I think this is the most awesome display of modern discipleship that I have heard of lately. For my summer class I’m reading about the history of evangelism and the authors are talking about how important established networks are for the movement of the faith message. You and Steve are forming a wonderful network among your neighbors. Perhaps those neighbors might soon get to know each other and walk the neighborhood as well praying for each other. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful thing to happen in all neighborhoods?

  2. Hi Ed,

    I’m a United Methodist pastor in the Mississippi Conference trying to get into practicing this myself. I wonder if you’ve written about this any more? I’d love to read it!

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