Dear Church Family,
A few weeks ago I spoke to you about Grace and I beginning to reach out to our neighbors and asked you to consider how you might do the same. Last night was our first attempt at getting our neighbors together. I just wanted to take a moment to share what happened. Feel free to borrow anything from this story to use in your own neighborhood ministry.
Yesterday was National Night Out. It is a national holiday designed to bring neighbors together so they can get to know each other. It also was designed help neighbors get to know the police officers that patrol their area. It is celebrated on the first Tuesday in August for the rest of the country but on the first Tuesday in October for Texas. Nick told me about it the day before so I didn’t have much time to put something together.
First I made some flyers. I spent a little under $6.00 at FedEx to make 80. I have attached the flyer in this message so you can get an idea. I went door to door in the afternoon. First I would knock and introduce myself as a their neighbor. Then I told them about the event and its purpose to help neighbors meet neighbors and I handed them a flyer. The ones I met personally were very receptive. If they were not home, I left a flyer where they could see it when they got home. I invited the police to drop by and our city council rep. Both told me they would like to come but needed more notice
Grace went shopping for a gallon of ice-cream; half gallon chocolate, half gallon vanilla. She also bought some instant peach tea mix and baked some brownies. At 6;00 we opened our garage door set up a few chairs in our driveway that we had borrowed from the church. We put the ice-cream in an ice chest, the peach tea and cups on a little folding table and I made a pot of coffee inside the garage. We prayed and waited. I also had asked the Sunday Evening Small Group to pray as well as a few others.
We ended up with 13 people dropping by. Most of them had lived in the neighborhood for more than a year but had not met anyone else that lived there. They commented over and over how much they missed some sort of community feeling and insisted that we continue meeting regularly. They planned a Garage-Sale day for the end of October and also said they would join me on the 31st to hand out candy to the kids. I guess I will be doing that in my driveway rather than in the house so kids can see we are there.
Two female college students dropped by. I think all the neighbors adopted them in their hearts. Both girls were sweet and we all just fell in love with them and their dreams for the future. Grace met a new best friend named Beverly. I saw them talking and laughing together the entire evening like they had known each other for years. Beverley wants to help cook the meal at the church tonight. I hope she will.
The conversation just naturally turned towards God as they asked Grace and I answered questions about how we got to be in their neighborhood and as we talked about our church. One of the ladies called her bible study members to tell them about the pro-life ministry so that they could join us in praying.
I was surprised at how easily God entered into the conversation. The people seemed very hungry for something more in their lives. They were certainly hungry for more fellowship within their community. My impression was that they were reflecting on things they had lost over the years. They were reminded of God and seemed at least willing to turn back towards him and to re-acquaint themselves with Him. Of course I could be misreading them but the entire event was very positive. There was no talk of politics nor any resistance toward our conversation of what God is doing in our lives
Please pray we will be able to build meaningful relationships with the folks we met. I would like to draw close to them so that at just the right moment, as the Spirit leads, a real conversation about their creator also being their savior might take place. I also wonder if God might start a small-group meeting of believers from our neighborhood who might be able to pray and minister together with for the rest of those who live here. I look forward to seeing how His will unfolds.
PS. Feel free to ask for help if you would like to do something like this where you live.