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According to Jesus, loving our neighbors as ourselves is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. But in recent years, studies from the Pew Research Center suggest that more than half of Americans don’t know even one of the people who live near them.
Here are ten suggestions for getting to know your neighbors better in order to love them more:
Hang outside longer. Daylight Saving Time means more light at the end of the day and more time to play. A few extra moments on the porch, walking the dog, or watering the lawn means more chances to meet people walking by. 
Invite a neighbor over for dinner (or offer to bring them dinner). Know of a neighbor who’s going through a hard time? Invite them to dinner, or offer to make double what you’re cooking and bring some over.
Host a class and invite a neighbor. Open your home for a video course based on some common-ground material that many people need — like marriage or finances —and let the neighbors know they’re welcome to be a part. 
Host a holiday-themed party. Memorial Day, 4th of July, Halloween, Christmas — each holiday offers a unique chance to open your home and invite neighbors in. Host your party open-house style so people feel free to come and go within a time frame, and keep things as simple as possible to focus on your new friends. 
Start a neighborhood walking or running group. Strike up a conversation with other walkers and runners while you’re out and suggest common times to exercise together and keep each other accountable.  
Invite them to watch the big game. Basketball, baseball, football, and more — there’s always a big game coming up around the corner. If you’ve got a big TV, invite a neighbor over to share it and a few drinks and snacks while you watch.
Host a baby or wedding shower for someone who doesn’t have family nearby. It’s a big gesture, but it’s a big need — people who are facing huge milestones in their lives need a lot of care. Even if you don’t host a party, offer to organize neighbors to help meet needs or gather hand-me-downs. 
Deliver small gifts at holiday time. A handmade card or some fresh baked cookies (even if you’re not the one who bakes them — try a local bakery) are an easy way to say “I’m here, and I care.”
Start a playgroup for other stay-at home parents. Create once-a-month gatherings — in your home or at parks and events — and bring neighbors and their kids together to participate. Look at the schedules for nearby cities, parks, libraries, local restaurants, and more for ideas. 
Above all, pray for them. Walk your streets and pray for each house, one by one. If you know the neighbor, pray for them by name. Pray that God will reach them where they are, and that if He wants to use you to do that, you’re willing. 
This article appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Grace Magazine.

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