Last night I attended the monthly meeting of my local neighborhood association. I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to learn more of the rhythms and nature of the few blocks that are around me. I also believed it would give me an opportunity to learn how to serve my neighbors and get to know them better. All-in-all the ninety minutes I spent with thirty people that I wouldn’t normally hang out with proved to be a good opportunity for me and gave me an idea beyond what I expected.
At our meeting last night one of the residents of our neighborhood shared a project she has been a part of that apparently is a global activity. She has a library in front of her house. It isn’t a huge library, and probably only has thirty-some volumes in it at one time, but apparently circulation and impact is excellent. She spoke passionately (along with two other Wichita residents who have a similar library in front of their homes) about the library and the enjoyment and fun that it is for her to see neighbors take books and even put books in her library for others to enjoy. She encouraged us to start our own “Little Free Library” and that got me thinking… what if I started a little library in front of my home? And, what if instead of stocking my library with the standard public library fare (which mostly consists of Twilight, Hunger Games, and Curious George type books) I stocked mine with classic writings from exceptional Christian writers that cover a variety of topics that deal with the soul. Could the Puritan Paperbacks be a missional tool to help the hearts and souls of my neighbors if they would take them up and read them?
My immediate neighbors already know I am a pastor, so this sort of thing would probably not surprise them. My gut says that if someone was struggling with depression finding a book entitled A Lifting Up For the Downcast in a “little library” in front of my house might help them. It might also give me an opportunity to pastor them. I envision a copy of Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ getting into the hands of a lost person who reads it and comes to Christ through Bunyan’s reflection on Scripture. I can see a person on my street picking up Facing Grief after losing a loved one. Inside each book would be an identifying stamp of my little library and a way to contact me for discussion.
I don’t know if my idea has any merit, if it will work or be beneficial. I merely caught an idea of an opportunity to put together a little library for my neighborhood of distinctly Christian and pastoral books that will help them come to know and love Christ. It doesn’t replace me knowing and having conversations with my neighbors, but it might grease the wheels in getting into spiritual matters in my neighborhood conversations.
Give me your thoughts! I’d really like to hear some wisdom on if this is a good, bad, or ugly idea for reaching my neighbors with the gospel.