Light Up Your Block (Party!) by Building Relationships Through Service

But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, giving thanks to his God.<br />


“Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

1 John 3:18 (ESV)


Alright God First community, listen up! We’ve all seen those Western movies where the lone ranger rides in, saves the day, then disappears into the sunset. Cool hat, questionable hygiene, but not exactly the recipe for a thriving community.  1 John 3:18 throws down a challenge that goes way deeper: “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (ESV)  This ain’t about isolated acts of heroism; it’s about building a community fueled by love and service – a God First Love Train, baby!

Imagine your neighborhood as a collection of disconnected train cars – people living side-by-side, but on separate tracks. Now, picture yourself as the conductor, hopping from car to car, coupling them together with acts of service.  Maybe you help an elderly neighbor with their groceries, offer to mentor a teenager struggling in school, or volunteer at the local animal shelter.  With each act of service, you connect the cars, creating a community on the move!

Serving ain’t about checking a box on your spiritual to-do list. It’s about forging genuine connections, building trust, and creating a space where everyone feels like they belong.  Think about it this way: how can you truly love your neighbor if you’re just another face in the crowd?

But how do we translate this Jesus-talk into action?
Here’s your battle plan for becoming a community connector:

  • Be a Neighborhood Ninja:  Before diving in headfirst, do some recon! What are the hidden needs and passions lurking in your neighborhood? Talk to local businesses, community centers, even your friendly barista, or you can do what I do and just look around. Then when you see a need you fill it. It was said best in the movie Robots, “See a need, fill a need!!”

Needs are everywhere, just waiting for a helping hand. Maybe there’s a surge in parents needing childcare support, or a growing desire for a community garden. Identifying these needs is the first step to becoming part of the solution.

  • Find Your Service Superpower: We all have unique skills and passions that can be used to build a stronger community. Maybe you’re a music lover who could organize a neighborhood block party with a karaoke machine, or a whiz with social media who could create a platform for neighbors to connect and share resources. Perhaps you’re a natural with kids and could start a neighborhood book club for young (or older) readers. There’s a place for everyone to serve, so find something that ignites your fire and allows you to connect with others.

  • Think Outside the Boxcar (But Maybe Bring Cookies): Serving doesn’t have to be confined to traditional volunteer opportunities.  Organize a community talent show to showcase hidden talents, host a neighborhood game night to break the ice, or start a book club that focuses on themes of community building. The key is to create fun, engaging activities that bring people together and foster a sense of belonging.

One time I really wanted to bring more live music to our local community. So I started a monthly Jam Session at our local Grange Hall. Then I took the time to invite EVERYONE to it. I left no stone unturned as we got ready for the jam sesh. 

I saw that we needed a PA system, so I found a way to buy one. Then we needed a few more instruments for ”new bees” to play. So I chatted with local music stores and they sold me their used instruments at and extreme discount. 

Building relationships takes time and effort.  Don’t get discouraged if everyone doesn’t become your BFF overnight. Be patient, be persistent, and most importantly, be yourself!  Let your genuine love for God and for others shine through in your actions.

Here’s the key: serving creates a ripple effect.  As you build relationships with your neighbors, they’ll be inspired to do the same.  Before you know it, your once disconnected train cars will be transformed into a powerful locomotive, chugging towards a brighter future – all thanks to the power of service!

Let’s get out there and couple those community cars, y’all! Let your service be a beacon of God’s love, drawing your neighbors closer to you and closer to Him. Remember, God First Life Next is all about putting God first in everything we do, and that includes building a thriving community grounded in love, support, and connection.

But this community train doesn’t just run on sunshine and smiles (although those are important too!).  Sometimes, tackling community issues requires a little more muscle.  Maybe you organize a neighborhood watch program to deter crime, or partner with a local organization to advocate for better public transportation.  The key is to identify a need and use your service as a catalyst for positive change.

Remember, building a community through service isn’t a one-time ride; it’s a lifelong journey.  As you continue to show up, to offer a helping hand, and to share the love of Christ, you’ll watch your community transform.  You’ll create a place where people feel safe, supported, and loved – a true reflection of God’s kingdom here on earth.

So, grab your tools, your cookies, and your biggest smile!  Let’s hop on board the God First Love Train and turn our neighborhoods into connected communities, one act of service and one new friend at a time!


Heavenly Father,

As we come together as a community, we are reminded of Your call to love one another not just in words, but in deeds and truth. We thank You for the opportunity to serve and build relationships that reflect Your love.

Lord, we recognize that our neighborhoods are like disconnected train cars, filled with people living side by side but often feeling isolated. Help us to be like conductors, bridging the gaps and connecting our neighbors through acts of service and genuine care.

Grant us wisdom, Lord, to see the needs and passions hidden within our community. Guide us as we seek to identify areas where we can make a difference and bring about positive change.

Equip us, Lord, with the skills and passions necessary to serve our community well. Help us to find our service superpowers and use them to build a stronger, more connected neighborhood.

Lord, we know that building relationships takes time and effort. Give us patience and persistence as we seek to connect with our neighbors, and help us to be ourselves, letting Your love shine through in all that we do.

May our acts of service create a ripple effect, inspiring others to join us in building a thriving community grounded in love and support. And may we always remember that putting You first in everything we do is the key to transforming our neighborhoods and our lives.

As we embark on this journey of service, Lord, may Your presence be with us every step of the way. Guide us, strengthen us, and fill us with Your love as we seek to build a community that reflects Your kingdom here on earth.

In Your holy name we pray,


Dan Greer