An Open Letter From Your Neighbors

These quotes are from real correspondence I received from women who wanted to start a Neighborhood Cafe Bible study… until they got scared. It was originally published in 2010 but still holds true today. 

Dear Neighbor,

We felt hopeful when you first said you wanted to get to know us.

These were your words of excitement about hosting a neighborhood get together –

  • “God has been talking to me for several months now about starting some kind of gathering in my home, in my neighborhood. None of the neighbors know each other and have never connected…”
  • “Yes, I am starting and looking forward to beginning a neighborhood bible study. I am prayerfully seeking His direction and hope to begin by the summer…”
  • “Lord willing, Lord leading, Lord preparing, I hope to begin having others into my home regularly to authentically come to the Lord together. Please pray for direction and follow through to get this opportunity started in my neighborhood too…”
  • “I feel the Lord leading me to start a neighborhood Bible study. Since I have a tendency to jump ahead of the Lord, I am praying about it first though!…”
  • “I live in a small rural community and God has laid it on my heart to start a community women’s ministry…”
  • “We’ve just moved into a brand new neighborhood… everyone is new here so it’s a good time to connect with the ladies that stay at home. It’s exciting for me to pursue this venue and know that God will use it to further His kingdom…”
  • “I am still going to start a neighborhood Cafe. I feel that is how God is calling me to ‘light my world’…”

You all must be reading the same book or something, because every single one of you said this God of yours was directing you, nudging you, instructing you, convicting you.

We’ve never met a God like that, a God who is living and active, real and personal.
He must care about us an awful lot, to speak to you so clearly.

But we may never meet Him, if you give in to these concerns…

  • “I don’t have much experience with what to do with non-believers…”
  • “It seems that gathering these ladies is a bit more difficult than I thought it would be – mostly due to their busy schedules.”
  • “My schedule frees up after next week so I’ll have more time…”
  • “I’m still praying and asking God what to do…”
  • “I am having changes at the office now so a café is on hold. I would appreciate your prayers for wisdom…”
  • “I work full time & my schedule varies from week to week, so timing may not be easy. Please pray that I will not let that discourage me or stop me…”
  • “Sad. I have been struggling with what to do and how to do it and Satan has been working overtime to discourage me….guess I just need that extra push…”
  • “I am being selfish with my time and don’t wont to commit the time. However, I think about it all the time…”
  • “However, I am not sure if this will be successful…”
  • “I’m excited and scared all at the same time as my outreach has usually been a bit more one on one with my hairdresser, the lady I see every week at the grocery store, that type of thing…”

Notice how the subject changed from “God” to “I”.

In the meantime, here’s what’s been happening in our homes –

  • My sister is suicidal.
  • My son is on drugs.
  • My husband died.
  • A family member was charged with molestation.
  • I’m struggling to find my place in the world.
  • I was the victim of a crime.
  • My husband moved out.
  • I have cancer.
  • My mother had a stroke.
  • I feel unloved, unlovely and unlovable.

These are our real prayers, our real needs, our real lives.

We don’t care if you start a Neighborhood Café or if you just start talking to us as we walk our dogs. We don’t care if you plan a big party or if you make a small gesture. Yes, we are busy. We know you are, too. And we are as afraid of coming to your house as you are of inviting us! It’s risky and time consuming to start a new relationship.

But we need you. We need your love. We need your Jesus.

Maybe we can get together sometime?

Because this isn’t about you. It’s about us.

Please don’t forget that.



Your Neighbors


  1. Laura Sparks

    I love this…from a fellow hostess, just do it!! What consistently amazes me is how He works out the details to make it happen each week. Don’t wait until you think you are ready…you will NEVER be…allow God to amaze you will His ability to meet your EVERY need!! Great job, Amy!

  2. cindy wagenhauser

    Amy, This is so true! Our neighbors, and our world, need the light of Christ to help illuminate the way through our sinful world. It is my constant need of Him in my own life that motivates me to share Him with others. It is so good to know how He loves us…how can we keep it to ourselves. Come on ladies! You share recipes, advice on childrearing, shopping tips…share the one thing that lasts an ETERNITY…Jesus Christ. Let His love overflow out of you. He will give you all you need: time, wisdom, strength, words.

  3. Sue

    Dear Amy,
    Your words touched have touched my heart again! And seeing my words in print and my shift in focus has convicted me! Thanks for the gentle push. :-). My timing may never be right, but His always will!

    • Amy Lively

      Dear, sweet Sue – I could only recognize that pattern because I have done the same thing so many times myself. Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned from my Neighborhood Cafe is that the little whispers and nudgings from the Lord were not for my benefit or blessing, but they were intended to bless those around me. His words to me were for others. Yet, I have been so blessed and fulfilled and amazed as I have obeyed. What a generous Lord we serve, that He would bless us to be a blessing and still bless us as we bless others because it blesses Him!
      Blessings to you,

  4. S. Rachel

    Amy, I thank God for using you to convict me once again…it’s hard but not to hard for God!

    Love You!


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