I had an hour to lead worship and two hours to teach a group of 16 children ages 6-16. Since normally my "sermons" or teachings take less than an hour and sometimes less than half an hour, I knew I was going to have to include some activities within the lesson to lengthen the time and engage the wide age range of kids.
So the lesson was on loving our neighbors and what love practically looks like and how to practice it. So we brainstormed ways to show love- praying for someone, praying for healing, listening, giving, celebrating with them, mourning with them, prophesying to them, etc.- and then we all practiced each one!
It is so exciting to see kids learning. They all practiced different ways of showing love to one another- even things that are hard for people sometimes (especially kids!) like listening to someone without interrupting or celebrating with someone without being jealous. And although I practiced all of the ways to show love with the kids, too, I had an extra lesson on my own. One on literally loving my neighbors.
When I got home and was going to grab something from my apartment quick before walking over to ONEHOP, I ran into one of my neighbors and her friend. Now most of my neighbors are either Hispanic or black (i.e. different cultures than the predominantly white neighborhoods I grew up in). And one thing I've learned in the short two months living here is how relational these cultures are. My less than two minute walk to work can easily turn into a half hour if I see a few of my neighbors on the way and talk with them or if the kids are out and want to tell me something new they learned in school. My 5 minute trip to pay the rent has twice turned into a 20 minute prayer meeting.
This Friday was no different. My neighbor Roxanne beckoned me over to meet her friend Carla and quickly the conversation turned into talking about the Lord and we all decided to pray. I felt like I had a prophetic word for Carla and Roxanne so I shared with them and they both started crying. They both shared about the difficult situations they've been in recently and said that they're whole day and perspective had changed in that brief few moments!! Then I remembered I had a CD sermon that I thought Roxanne would like so I ran up to my apartment and grabbed it for her.
So, after teaching the kids how to love, I got to walk it out practically in prayer, prophecy, giving, listening, and at first mourning and later celebrating with them! Perhaps that's one of the best things about teaching- is that I always get to learn whatever lesson I teach a few times (or maybe one of the worst things depending on what I'm teaching- ;) ).
And now I have a few more friends in my neighborhood. They are going to come join me in some of the ONEHOP prayer meetings and the three of us decided to start a Bible study in the neighborhood and invite some of our other neighbors! So my apartment 22 may be quite hopping!
Teach someone something today. Anything. Just be prepared to learn the lesson over and over again yourself! :)