A dear friend came up to me after the service mentioning how difficult it is to apply a message on loving your city. Where do you start? How do you engage Baton Rouge? Where do you get intertwined into the city in a meaningful way?
I got to thinking this afternoon and wanted to give a few reasons that I have tracked down, listed (in my opinion) by difficulty.
- Social Media: I use Hootsuite and keep a few lists in my Twitter feed of churches in Baton Rouge and places in Baton Rouge (@PerkinsRoweBR, @VisitBatonRouge, @BrBizReport, @225BatonRouge, @BatonRougeZoo) so that I can see what kinds of things might be going on in the city. This is about as passive as it gets.
- Order the Baton Rouge Business Report: This will keep you aware of some of the business and financial things going on in the city, and will help you think about ways you can be praying for your city. The next stet, after ordering it, would be to read it—but I don’t want to set the bar too high. 🙂
- Join Your Neighborhood Association:Don’t just pay your dues, but engage in the life of your neighborhood. Be an active part of seeking its welfare (Jer. 29:7). Michael Rhodes, who pastors with me at the Oaks, wrote this up for the Send Network on being an Everyday Neighborhood Missionary.
- Join Your PTA: Every parent wants their kids to have a great education. Do what you can in your PTA to be a part of seeing that come to pass. Bless the teachers, pray for them, adopt a classroom, anything. Kids not in school anymore?
- Keep up with Metro Council Meetings: While you may not want to go to another meeting, perhaps reading minutes is up your alley. They usually meet twice a month. Along with that, try attending a public hearing. You may not want to speak up, but you could hear what other people are passionate about.
- Be a Mentor: You could join up with our Kid’s Hope USA ministry and serve one child at Wildwood Elementary. The commitment is an hour a week plus a few things that are seasonal.
- Regularly Walk Your Neighborhood: Every day, or a few times a week, take your family and walk your neighborhood. Begin praying for houses, for people, for families. Talk about the needs and ways you can meet them together. If other church family are in your neighborhood, do it together.
- Start a Business: Maybe you see a gap in some spot in the city. If you’re an entrepreneurial-type, perhaps you should being praying about starting a business to fill that gap.
- Foster a Child: Some of you might have a unique burden to bring restoration to one person or sibling group. If so, you might want to look into being a foster parent. It might be for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or even become an adoption; but fostering gives you an opportunity to be family to a child who desperately needs it. More information can be found here.
There are many other ways, and I’d love to hear about them. If you have other suggestions, bring them on! The question to keep asking is: how can I love my city?