On October 6th many neighborhoods around the United States will celebrate Neighbor’s Night Out. This is a time to open the front door, go outside, and spend time with those who live around you. It is an effort with a very simple purpose; helping people get to know each other. It use to be that we knew our neighbors and many families would sit out on the porch in the evenings interacting with neighbors as they walked by or sat on their own porch. Today it is more likely that kids (or parents) are playing on the X-Box while other family members are plopped in front of the TV. Isolation in many neighborhoods has become the norm and many people couldn’t name you 5 people who live on their street.
Just as it has been easy for families to isolate it has been easy for the church to become isolated from its neighbors as well. So as the church what are we doing or what can we do to help build neighborhoods? What successes have you had and what hasn’t worked? Have we become isolated or are we reaching into the areas around us to see the needs and to ‘get to know’ our neighbors? Do we plan events for the neighborhood with the intent of building community or just do events to get people to join our church? Does the church have service activities targeting the area around it (homes or businesses)?
Here are some ideas of things you can do to build your neighborhood:
*Go out into your area and introduce yourself to the neighbors (businesses or homeowners) *Watch for needs in the neighborhood and take the initiative to help meet them (e.g. trash pickup, offer to be a Safe Place for abused women or lost children)
*Offer fix up services to neighbors (this could be to change light bulbs, trim bushes, or more)
*Walk the block and pray for the businesses and homes; maybe even invited requests from neighbors
*Host a block party just to have a positive thing for the neighborhood
*Pay attention to what resources your congregation has that could bless the neighbors or what resources you could put in to be a blessing (e.g. air conditioned rooms during summer time for those without AC, outdoor basketball courts or other outdoor sports facilities)
*Offer the Home Owners Associate a place to meet for its annual meeting
*Find good area restaurants and hold meetings there or lunches out
*Create some event working with various businesses (e.g. support for a local charity, social group, family
Who has experienced tragedy or hardship
What ideas do you have to bring your neighborhood together?