I've been working my way through Jim Petersen's book, "The Insider." Actually, I ordered the workbook by mistake so I don't actually have my hands on the book yet. But even the workbook has me intrigued.
Petersen suggests that we are all "insiders" to families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and social networks. As insiders, our ministry is right in front of us. In fact, Petersen laments that so few of us realize both the importance and the legitimacy of learning how to minister to those who are in our immediate spheres of influence.
He quotes Rodney Stark's book "The Rise of Christianity":
The primary means of its [Christianity's] growth was through the united and motivated efforts of the growing number of Christian believers who invited their friends, relatives, and neighbors to share the "good news."
The problem, over the past 1700 years of church history, is that ministry has become the domain of clergy and, therefore, this circle of ministry that surrounds each and every Christian remains largely untouched.
Petersen doesn't offer formulas for "reaching our neighbors," rather he challenges us that:
Being authentically and meaningfully involved with unbelievers takes time and commitment. It means growing in love and compassion. For some it means developing new understandings that will redefine ministry.
I hope this has sparked some interest. I intend to continue reading the workbook and even the book once I get my hands on it.