Loving Our Neighbor

If you hit the stoplights right, Dexter K–8 School is only a five-minute drive from Bellevue. The people at this school are our neighbors, and by reaching out to them, we’ve learned more about loving our neighbor as ourselves and doing it well.

“Sometimes we make the whole concept of loving our neighbor a little bit more difficult than it actually is,” Local Missions Pastor Ross McGregor said. “It’s whoever God has in front of us.”

Dexter K–8 School is right in front of Bellevue, and it is full of people, faculty, students, and families whose needs we can practically meet and whom we can reach with the Gospel.

Bellevue’s partnership with Dexter K–8 School began with serving in small ways: some landscaping, putting down mulch, and cleaning up around the school grounds. From these simple tasks, the relationship blossomed, connections were formed, and ministry opportunities were presented.

“They opened the door wide for us to be able to come in and help out however we could and minister to their students in really unique ways,” Local Missions Director Taylor Rivera said.

One of those unique opportunities is Dexter Day, a day where students and faculty come to Bellevue’s campus for activities that can open the door for Gospel conversations. It began as a Bellevue Loves Memphis and Jesus Loves Memphis project that Middle School Ministry has taken ownership of. Jake Simmons, a Middle School Ministerial Assistant, is heavily involved in this partnership with Dexter K–8, and he’s seen how projects like Dexter Day break down walls and form connections.

“They know our faces now,” Jake said. “Instead of you seeing a face and thinking, ‘I kinda know your name or I’ve seen you around.’ It’s a relationship, and it becomes almost a sense of family.”

We can form connections on a regular basis with both students and teachers through opportunities like coaching with ARISE2Read or letting teachers know they’re appreciated with notes of encouragement and prayer.

It’s not all about meeting needs or getting needs met. Those are important, and they lay the groundwork, but it’s also important to realize a good partnership operates the same way in which Jesus works and the Gospel moves: relationally.

One of Bellevue volunteer Alexis Gohil’s favorite parts of serving is creating relationships. When she looks back at serving this past summer, the moments she remembers most are the mornings with a few kids playing on the playground. And she realized building these relationships isn’t a one-man job.

“We’re all working toward the same goal of more people coming to know Jesus and seeing our city being changed for Jesus,” Alexis said. “And we can’t do that alone.”

This partnership reaches many people, and there are more opportunities like it. On March 2, Missions Ministry will host a training to show what it looks like to practically reach our neighbors in more ways than one. To learn more, visit bellevue.org/missions-week.