When I think of biblical community done well, the Rhodes family immediately comes to mind.

I had the pleasure of getting to know them through a former church, and I’ve enjoyed staying updated with the many adventures God has taken them on over the years. I marvel at the openness of their hearts, hands, and homes.

Today, I’ve asked Kim Rhodes to share about some of the things they’ve done to extend the love of Christ on Valentine’s Day. {Thank you, Kim!}

The Rhodes Family

“We have been a part of many neighborhoods over the past 18 years of married life and with each place we have tried to get to know those that live around us. It always shocks me to find out that people living just a few doors down have never taken the time to meet or engage with each other.

“Sometimes the greatest influence you can have is to the lives of those that live in closest proximity to you.”

We value the unique advantage and connection we have with people that live specifically on our street or around us. One of my personal core values is “Open Home”⎯that everything we have is a missional tool that needs to be used. And so we truly believe in the power of an open home, always making space to invite people in through our front doors, not into our perfect life but into our messy, lived, and present life.

I remember at one dessert gathering we had after we moved into one of our new neighborhoods…two families engaged in conversation. Each of them had lived on the same street a few houses down for over 9 years and had never met each other. They engaged for the first time in our home.

Just recently we moved to a new city and state. And as I met our neighbor living next door, she was sharing about the families that surrounded us. She wasn’t quite sure of who lived in the house behind her because of the 15 years they had lived in their home they had never had a conversation with them. And this is not abnormal. This is shockingly normal for most streets and neighborhoods across the country. Somehow we have lost the value of opening up our homes, as well as our lives, to those around us.

One of the ways our family tries to engage our neighbors is to use holidays as times to go knock on their doors. We normally give them a gift or treat and then it’s always attached to a future invite of something happening in our home. We have found this to be something very low pressure. It allows us to engage others through an offering of a gift, and an invitation to a future time of connection. It’s that simple. There is no pressure. The worst scenario is we are able to say hello and offer a gift. The best scenario is that we get the opportunity to invite them into our home and they actually show up!

The past few Valentines Days we have used different gifts. We’ll be hitting up our new neighbors this Valentines Day with a single rose and and invite to a coffee and cobbler night at our home at a specific date in March. We’ve used Valentines day to give candy and invite people over to our “Jolly” Rancher and we’ve used Valentines Day to offer a single rose to our neighbors and just let them know they are “Loved” and that we would “Love” to have them over for dessert sometime soon.

Whether you live in an apartment or a large castle, everyone has the opportunity to open up their home and lives. My husband and I are both introverts and we’ve found it very easy to gather large groups of people engaged in conversation with little or no effort. We have found our biggest gift is giving space for those that come into our home to be able to find each other in their own stories and build a connection. In some ways our open home is a place of connection for people. And the connection and stories and life engagement that comes from those times are always beautiful and abundant.”

Thank you so much for sharing, Kim. Both you and Dave have impacted our lives and countless others. You’ve definitely inspired this introvert!

If you’ve been encouraged to think outside the box for the sake of the gospel, I’d LOVE for you to share about it in the comment section. 🙂 Thanks! 

Coming up this Saturday, Edie Melson will give us a glimpse into her one-on-one time with the Lord. And on Monday, I’ll share a simple but meaningful way to show L-O-V-E to the singles in your life on Valentine’s Day!