“A few years ago, 21 churches in Arvada, Colorado united to start a neighboring movement in our community. We kept things simple and challenged the people in our congregations to take the next small step with their literal neighbors.
This launched a neighboring movement that has mobilized over 70 churches and 40,000 people in the Denver Metro area. The movement has spread, and to date over 1,000 churches are using the Art of Neighboring resources.”
Meet Dave Runyon
In 2012, I begin interviewing friends making a difference in the communities they live and work. At the top of my interview list was my friend, one time youth pastor (he was pretty good), previous soccer coach (he was real bad), and current mentor (better at this), Dave Runyon. He’s witty, blunt, a bit sarcastic at times, and I love the dude with my whole heart.
Because the goal of this blog is to share stories of what the Lord is up to both locally and abroad – I wanted to share an interview I had with Dave in 2013. I think he has a few helpful thoughts that might help us engage in a deeper way in our own lives.
Dave decided to leave his pastoral teaching position of nine years to pursue his dream. Mobilize and activate the church to engage their actual neighbor. Seems counter intuitive doesn’t it? Leave his church position to help activate the church?
From Dave’s deep seeded questions of how to engage the church in simple action, the Art of Neighboring was born.
- So you were a teaching pastor for nine years, what made you feel lead to pursue something different?
I can’t get away from John chapter 17. I believe that unity among believers is the key to changing our world. I’m passionate about bringing the churches in our community together to do what we could never do alone.
I go to bed at night thinking about questions like: ‘What would it look like if the churches in our city came together to be a positive force in our community? What kind of impact could we have if churches unleashed our collective resources and focused them on the same issues?
- In a few sentences, what is the purpose of this ministry?
Our goal was to challenge the people in our congregations to assess their relationship with their neighbor, and to move from strangers to acquaintances, then from acquaintances to relationship. To actually do the thing that Jesus says matters most.
- What has been greatest response you’ve received taking this message from church to church?
When people get this…it changes everything. Also, this is a very very simple idea…but its also very powerful.
- There are rumors of a book coming out in the near future, when should we start searching the local bookstores?
- In your opinion, what is this largest weakness and greatest success of the modern church today?
Biggest success is that thus far, the church has continued to reinvent itself in order to be relevant to the culture. Biggest weakness is that thus far, the church has continued to reinvent itself in order to become relevant to the culture.
- Define biblical community in one sentence.
Biblical community exits when people come together to share, learn, worship, and eat together.
- One book that is a must read on neighboring is…
Abundant Community by McKnight and Block.
8. Having known you since I was 13, you’ve built up quite a collection of stories of youngsters doing rather stupid – yet hilarious antics during your time as a youth pastor. Please share one story. Use details.
Brad Weiman froze his own poop and then placed it under the liner of a trash can in someone else’s room. It thawed out over a day or so before being discovered.
9. Describe your wife in three words.
Full of life.
Here’s two takeaways from this interview to share with others.
Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone, to step into the dream God created you to fulfill.
Turns out loving your neighbor as yourself, means getting to know the names and stories of your actual neighbor. Go figure.
Thanks for taking 5 minutes to be with me today! I’d love to hear your thoughts/comments below. If you haven’t had a chance yet, join the conversation on the right hand side of the page. And check out The Art of Neighboring here.