Spiritual strangers want community and belonging. They need circles of friendship and acceptance where they can know others and be known by them. They need to be “gathered together.” They may want to embrace a different culture than they have known, but there is a lot to learn.
Always listen first.
You don’t really know a neighbor’s needs unless you listen. Listening is the door to compassion, and the primary way that a person becomes known and not a stranger.
Be a friend.
Find out their interests and needs. Get to know them.
Everyone may indeed be friendly to another, but still he should be most friendly to what is good. (Secrets of Heaven 4804)
To do good that is good must be from the love of good, thus for the sake of good. They who are in this love abhor merit, for they love to do, and perceive satisfaction from it; and on the other hand, they are saddened if it is believed that it is done for the sake of something of self. The case herein is almost as it is with those who do what is good to friends for the sake of friendship, to a brother for the sake of brotherhood, to wife and children for their own sake, to their country for their country’s sake; thus from friendship and from love. They who think well also say and insist that they do not do well for the sake of themselves; but for the sake of those to whom they do it. (Secrets of Heaven 9983)
I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. (Psalm 119:63)
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
To do good to a friend, regardless of his character and simply because he is one’s friend, is a natural action that is unspiritual; but to do good to a friend on account of the good residing with him, all the more so when one regards good itself as the friend to whom one is to do good, is a natural action that is spiritual. (Secrets of Heaven 5180)
Help them find their way around your church and community.
Give them a tour, a map, directions. Share some of the story of your spiritual community and its history.
Invite your neighbor to your home.
Maybe just a visit, or for coffee, to meet family or friends, a small group, or to work on a project or hobby.
Invite your neighbor into your community.
Introduce them to your friends. Invite them to a social gathering or church events. Ask them to join your small group or another that can meet their needs. Or help each other start a group.
Help them reach out to others.
Join them in looking for someone else who needs a friend. Be open to getting to know your neighbor’s family, friends, and associates.
Help them get to know the Lord.
The Lord says we are His friends if we love one another as He loves us (John 15:12-14). Find out what your neighbor’s connection with God has been, and share something of yours.
Tell each other your stories.
Tell something others don’t know about you.
Ask your neighbor about their spiritual journey.
Plan to meet one of your neighbor’s friends.
Plan to introduce your neighbor to a new friend.
Plan a social event with your neighbor.
Each of you talk about ways the Lord has been with you at different times in your life.
Plan a communal meal.