FIVE TIPS FOR SERVING YOUR NEIGHBOR WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING

March 24, 2020

 by Brian Mateer          

We are living in uncertain and unprecedented times.  The Covid-19 virus and pandemic have left us scrambling to establish a "new normal" in our homes, work spaces and places of worship.  With so much uncertainty, what remains constant is God' s work in the world (missio dei) continues.  The question for us is, how to best engage appropriately and safely with our neighbors while adhering to recommended social distancing practices? 

Below are five helpful tips to consider to serving your neighbor while social distancing:  

  1. Do good!  Do no harm!   

    Founder of Methodism, John Wesley,  asks us to reflect that sometimes when we do good for others ,there is the possibility we could do harm.  Before you do anything, consider the risk to you and others you may be interacting with. Make sure to have proper safety measures and sanitation while following ALL guidelines provided by the CDC and other health professionals. 

  2. Think small, think local! 

    As Jesus makes us all consider the question "Who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29), now more than ever, we need to be checking up on our physical neighbors around our homes.  If we can meet the needs of our physical neighbors, we can make a big impact in our communities.  Consider those who are vulnerable around you, the elderly, single parents, those out of work or with lost wages, health care professionals.  You know…feed the hungry, clothe the naked…. ***Tip***Consider opening a Nextdoor social media account to find out what is happening in your neighborhood. 

  3. Don’t recreate the wheel! 

    Likely, there are other groups already working to meet needs of the community in various spaces.  Partner with nonprofits, community groups and churches.  Collaboration is essential during this time.  You don't have to be everything to everyone.  Pick one or two things and do it well. 

  4. Think beyond physical needs! 

    Of course we should be responding to physical needs, but don't forget to tend to the needs of the soul of others.  I sense right now some of the greatest gifts we can give people is connection and hope.  As the days of isolation turn in to weeks and eventually to months, we are going to need to create avenues for people to connect with others.  There are great digital tools to stay connected but don’t forget to call and/or write. 

  5. Use what you've got! 

    Think about the resources you already have that could be utilized to help your neighbors.  Do you have a special skill or talent? Perhaps you are located in the perfect spot in your neighborhood so your physical space can be an asset to the community.  Do you have a capable kitchen where meals can be prepared for takeout?  Is your property such that is could be utilized for "drive thru" services?  Do you have or know smart finance people that could host virtual meetings to help people though an economic hardship? 

Although this is a difficult time, I have been inspired by the stories of humanity working for the greater good.  As we settle in to life as it will be for the foreseeable future, let us not collapse into ourselves but continually seek ways to help and support each other. 

Do you have an inspiring story of how people are helping their neighbors?   We want to hear about it.            Please e-mail Brian at bmateer@wnccumc.org.


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