“Safe” and “good” neighborhood? Subdivision with amenities (pools, parks, walking trails)? Sidewalks? Proximity to work? Square footage? These are a few things a typical American considers when buying a home or deciding where to live.
Should the Gospel inform where an American Christian lives? I would answer yes. If the answer is yes, than how? What would that look like?
If God left us on this earth to be conformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) and to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28: 16-20). It makes sense that where we make our home should be an outworking of what God wants to do with our lives and what He calls us to.
What does this look like practically for a Christ follower? I propose that it looks like putting the typical American housing criteria toward the bottom of our list. At the top of our list should be a home where God has called us to be Christ’s representatives to our neighbors and where we can do this most effectively. This might mean finding another family or families in your church body that are looking for others to come alongside them in neighborhood evangelism. This may mean purposely moving into a lower income neighborhood with the purpose of mission. This might mean renting an apartment rather than buying a house-for the specific purpose of reaching people living in that particular apartment complex with the Gospel. Even if it means less living space and it makes less financial sense for your family.
Christians should look different from the world. “Even in the sphere of house buying?”you might ask. If you find yourself saying ‘no’, I’d like you to ask yourself why you might be saying that. Could it be that you are more in love with comfort, ease, and the American dream than you are with Jesus and living on mission for Him? I know it’s not easy to take a hard look at these things. It’s going to cost something, it’s likely going to hurt in many ways. I’m here to say though, that it’s worth the cost. It’s good to question ‘the way we’ve always done things’. How a Christian decides where he or she lives is one of those things we need to question. The Gospel should inform where we live. God is too big and we spend too much time in and around our homes to not take a hard look at this area of life. God has something to say about every area of our lives-where we live is just one of them.