About the Author

Kendra Roehl is described by her father as a “defender of the weak” and is always looking for those who fall through the gaps and are in need of help. Her natural inclination towards the hurting segued into a career as a clinical social worker, a foster and adoptive mom,...

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    • Karen, thank you! I absolutely love “The Art of Neighboring”! I read it last fall and am going through it again with our missional community. 🙂

  1. I just have to wonder how many people we come in contact with every day who are lonely and just want to be noticed an acknowledged. Father, help me be aware and make the effort, even and especially when i am in a state of “busyness.”

  2. We are TOO busy, to realize that we, too could be that lonely person. I was and, am, so thankful for the friends I have, who were there for me, day and night, after my husband died. God has truly blessed me! I pray I will be more aware of those around me, who are elderly and possibly lonely.

  3. This is a beautiful post! I am often guilty of being wrapped up in my husband, children, and the tasks of every day life. It’s so important to think about those right around us who need someone. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. This has been something God has been stirring up in me for a while. We moved into a neighborhood (previously near basically nothing in a small rental house) so that we could be near more people…yet we find ourselves often “too busy” to take the leap into going beyond a quick hello more times than not. It breaks my heart to think there may be someone (maybe the single woman living right next door) who feels lonely…because we didn’t take more time. I need that conviction to bring action. Thank you for this.

    • Debbie, you are so welcome! I too need to be reminded to continually be looking for ways to reach out. It’s all too easy to get caught up again in my own life! Thanks for the comment!

  5. Oh sweet words! So thankful that you’re spreading this message and challenge Kendra, it’s one that’s close to my heart. Thankful to see others cultivating mindfulness for those around us. Those who need fellowship and authentic friendship around the table.

  6. Kendra,

    This was a post that brought joy to my heart, picturing
    your neighbor sharing time with your family.
    Thank-you for being there for him and reminding us how important it is to “Love thy neighbor.”

    Blessings to you,

    Penny

  7. This is a great idea. We just moved into a new house and we have two neighbors that don’t like us. A challenge for us. We will start inviting them over as soon as the snow melts and we get front steps built. Great story!

  8. Oh my, Kendra, this just broke my heart. I tend to read these posts and nod in agreement with so much of what the authors write but your piece just convicted me to the core. I didn’t want to nod, but I had to…through tear-stained cheeks.

    How busy we get. How consumed in our own lives we become. We have neighbors just next door who keep to themselves, are older than we are and have never had children. My husband and I just recently discussed how we should make a better effort with them and, like I often find myself doing, I agreed and let it slip from my mind.

    Thank you for this post. I do believe it’s time to put this into action.

    • Jennifer, thank you for your comment, praying for you today friend that God will open a door for you to reach out to your neighbors. Blessings to you!

  9. Thank you for this. I think sometimes we choose to make “neighbor” a figurative term because then we get to choose who we love. God may mean our literal next-door neighbor. Time to start reaching out.

    • Ali, I totally agree! This idea that everyone is my neighbor somehow made me feel like I didn’t need to really reach out to those closest to me. Bless you as you start to reach out!

  10. This is so inspirational. Love everything about this–and just reserved that book (The Art of Neighboring) at the library.

  11. This is so beautiful and it truly expresses my heartfelt desire, to let Christ love my neighbor through me.

  12. This story is so timely. For me, it brought up something a little different than reaching out to neighbors. I’ve been so caught up in my own life and that of my husband’s and children, that I don’t reach out to my extended family as much anymore, especially my grandmother. My weekly visits have turned into monthly visits. As my grandmother doesn’t drive and lives alone, reading this story has made me realize to rearrange some priorities. Thank you for sharing this story.

  13. What a beautiful article. I live in an apartment building and find it difficult to connect with my neighbors. The one across the hall is an older lady, who I tried to talk to about the LORD. She just said that salvation is all about the works we can do. She is catholic and would not accept that salvation is through the finished work of Jesus Christ. My other neighbor is a middle aged man with schizophrenia, who is always saying God bless you and may God be your pilot. He is a chain smoker, but overall friendly. As a single woman I have had brief conversations with him, but have found that I have needed to draw boundaries. Thank you for this article. It was refreshing.

    • Dawn, It can be challenging depending on where you live, but its nice to hear you’ve done some reaching out to those around you! Blessings!

  14. I’ve been feeling nudged to reach out to our neighbors too. Our neighbors mainly all know each other, and we are the new family here, even after 4 years. But when new neighbors moved in next door, we plowed their driveway and brought cookies. They were so grateful! I’m planning to invite them over soon… she’s newly divorced and I’m guessing could use a little love.

  15. What a beautiful friendship you are forming. You may never know how much that friendship means to him! Thanks for sharing your heart with him and all of us!

  16. As I read your post today, I wiped away a tear. How many times have though proclaiming to be a Christian, have I honestly reached out to others, just for the sole purpose of loving on them? It is so easy today to just go about our own lives, for so many reasons, for fear of reaching out, for the fact we are judgmental, perhaps don’t feel like we have to. Your post here made me think that all people, regardless, are like me, a child of God, and worthy of His love, therefore, they should be worthy of my love. Even though I think I do a pretty good job at reaching out, “pretty good” isn’t enough. I should do more, should strive to do more. Not because I can, but because I should..with an unburdened heart. I should be that joyful giver 2 Corinthians 9:7 brings “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Even as I stare out my window now writing this, I see a new neighbor of mine, standing outside with a beer in his hand. My husband and I have not went out to introduce ourselves because he is a “drinker” and though we choose not to drink alcohol, we haven’t reached out. Perhaps I should second guess this judgement. What if my husband and I reaching out to say hello he isn’t what we thought, perhaps we might be able to share the Word with Him, share with Christ, and if he is a Christian, maybe understand better him. You never know when You will have a chance to witness, even if not in words but in actions. Remember when Jesus came to Matthew, a tax collector, and Matthew was not favored in those days because of his profession. Jesus was not exclusive, even when the other disciples did not understand. Whew, you made me think. Sorry I rambled on.

    • Rebecca, Oh can I relate to your comment! We too have felt like there were some we should avoid, not that we’d ever say it out loud, but this past year we have been challenged to just live among people, loving them right where they were at, and I can’t tell you how God has opened doors for us to “be Jesus” with no agenda but to love. Praying for you friend and believing God will continue to show you what to do!

  17. Opening our hearts and our table involves taking a risk. People think the risk is in being rejected but I have rarely found that to be the case. People are longing for the invitation. No…the risk is that they accept your invitation, your opening of yourself, only to stomp on you at some point down the track and spit you out again. If you are inviting others to your table genuinely without agenda, then this will hurt and hurt deeply. But then, Jesus too was genuine. He genuinely loved. And He was stomped on and spat out. I can only imagine the hurt He felt. You’re in good company if you take the risk.

  18. This is like a knife to my heart–I’ve been contemplating inviting a few of my neighbors over for the year and-a-half that I’ve lived in this neighborhood and haven’t because well….because I nervous about how it could go. Thank you for sharing this and encouraging me to get over the unknown and step out and begin a relationship. So blesses.

  19. What a great reminder that a wave and passing smile is not enough. I’ve always thought, ” I don’t want to bother them” when in reality, I really should. =)

  20. This hits so close to home and makes me well up with tears for the love of a very special neighbor (or two!) in our neighborhood. I’m so thankful my friend shared this with me.

  21. What a sweet reminder to be the hands and feet of Jesus for those so close to us. Thank you!

  22. This made my heart smile and full of Joy!! As I’m so sure it did his too. Thank You So Very Much for sharing!!.. 😀

  23. Very good reminder that we have a widower friend we are past due to have over again for a meal…will have to condsider the literal neighbor idea…

  24. Hi, What a lovely and meaningful story. We did this with and elderly
    neighbor that lived behind us in our second home. We called her
    Grandma Ruth! Our whole family learned a lot from her. Also, we
    currently have game nights, once a month and invite not only
    immediate family, but cousins and friends. Everyone laughs so
    much and it is such fun!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win the really cute Chalkboard
    Place Cards. They would be fun to write what we are thankful
    for, if we did a good deed that day, etc. Cindi

  25. Really had me thinking…. New to this neighborhood and I need to reach out to my neighbors…

  26. Beautiful! The whole thing! After reading a post by Shauna Niequist a year or two ago, we have started to do the same thing… invite people in, more often, and on purpose! I love this!

  27. Touching story! Loving others is free. Loving your neighbor is not limited to your close by neighbor but others who come in contact with us everyday. If we make an effort to make a difference in someone’s life, the world will be a better place.

  28. Thank you do much for the inspiring story. It is the perfect one to be read at our small group we have hosted about the hospitality of Jesus and how we can have that same mindset. We have brainstormed about ways we can reach out to our neighbors and community by being hospitable. We also share a meal together as we talk, laugh and share our lives with each other.

  29. Sharing meals = sharing words, sharing hope, halving sorrows and creating bonds. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to be salt and light to others. ♡

    • Kristin, thank you for your comment, I love how you so easily sum up how sharing meals is so much more than just eating together. Thank you!

  30. What a wonderful story that so warmed my heart. It reminds me of when I was young and we had an older lady who lived down the street from us and no one spoke to her. One day she saw me and we started talking as she had grapes growing and offered some to me. From then we became friends and she would send me pictures of her dog Ricky who ended up meeting our dog Lady and they had puppies. I will never forget that time because we moved away the next year. My parents always told us to respect our elders and I never think twice to show Gods love when I see an elderly person. My elderly neighbor will sign for packages for me if I am not home and once I get home she is so eager to give me the package that came for me. In a nutshell we should make it a point to show Gods love to our neighbor as well..

  31. I remember when growing up w/my family of 5, we moved often & new neighbors would bring over a cake and welcome us into the neighborhood, girls my age would ask if I could play, & sometimes there was a block party. Later, when I was fortunately able to move into a house of my own, I had a neighbor who would throw biscuits over the fence for our dog and bring wonderful leftover dinners for us, and she was a widow. A next door couple came over with a bottle of wine one evening after the power went out. Being a single parent for 15 years & looking forward to taking my child out anywhere and being surrounded by families with both mothers & fathers together, I remember sometimes feeling…less than. Thank goodness for the kindness of others; I strive to be more like their example. It really is the simply sweet things we do or just noticing someone and waving, will make them feel that they matter. It did for me.

  32. Kendra,

    Thank you for a great post and for honoring God by having that neighbor over for dinner. I know to well that loneliness. My mother died in 2009 and my dad, who has never lived alone, was suddenly all by himself. It was alright for a few years–then I think the loneliness and not being around people his age (88) bothered him. We moved him into an assisted living facility this January. He seems quite happy with people to talk to. I still visit every Monday and call often to check on him.

    Thanks for the nudge to remember our older friends and neighbors!

    :0

  33. This is my first visit to your site due to my dear sis-in-law sharing a post with me. I felt the impact of who and what you are immediately and being timely is an understatement. Goodness and Life. A blessed day for sure! The dishes are a great idea and would love to start collecting them. Thank you for the offer.

  34. beautifully stated! Jesus’ standard, for sure! in breaking bread there is such grace…thanks for this, kendra <3

  35. I recognized this annoying line from “The Art of Neighboring” immediately. This line – “What if he actually meant we should love our literal neighbor?” – stalked me and harassed me until I finally gave in. The women in my neighborhood were once strangers, then acquaintances, and finally we’ve become friends. We had a block party, we do coffee, we have community yard sales – and yes, we even do a neighborhood Bible study. “Love your neighbors” isn’t a random command, it’s God’s perfect plan.

      • Likewise! I listened to your message on neighboring and will share it with our Neighboring group in Lancaster, Ohio (www.artofneighboring.com/lancaster). A couple dozen churches and our mayor, sheriff, and police chief have been meeting regularly for over a year to implement the Art of Neighboring in our community. We meet this Thursday morning if you’d like to shoot any prayers our way! We want to create a culture of sincere neighboring, not a slick campaign.

        • Oh my goodness Amy, this is so amazing! I will be praying for you all in the morning! (I’ve already made a note in my phone so I will not forget). Bless you and all the work you do to create community, it’s incredible.

  36. Kendra, loved reading these words, they ring so true to my heart, still on the learning curve with this at times, and forever needing His grace. We all rub shoulders every day with people who are desperate, hurting, lonely. Sometimes we notice, but often we don’t, maybe because we’re busy, preoccupied, or overwhelmed ourselves. Honestly, many days, it seems that “we” are those people, the desperate, the hurting, the lonely. Just needing someone to notice…thank you so much for your words, for the reminder just to love and reach out as Jesus did. We so need each other in this journey. Blessings to you!

    • Debbie, we do need each other! That is what I am learning more and more! And grace in the process, yes, definitely. Thank you so much for your kind words, blessings to you!