My Neighboring at Home Plan
To help you move along this continuum, we have developed a series of simple steps for you to consider adopting for you and your family. Pray about this as a family, and agree on which of the following you will commit to doing this summer.
- I will register my home at www.midlandneighboring.com.
- I will learn the names of my neighbors living in 8 households in my neighborhood. (Level 1/ Stranger) Pick up the Midland Neighboring Grid at the Faith at Home Center to use.
- I will work to learn more about my neighbors:
- Their interests, hobbies, family situation, etc. (Level 2/Aquaintance)
- Their needs, dreams, spiritual journey, etc. (Level 3/ Relationship)
- My family will help organize a block party before Labor Day, 2012. Link to Instructions for Neighboring Block Party Requests in the City of Midland.
Here are some ideas for ways you might introduce yourself to your neighbors:
- The old reliable baking of a plate of cookies is a great way to introduce yourself to a neighbor you do not know.
- For a neighbor you’ve lived near for a long time but have never met, try this introduction: “The city of Midland is participating in a program called Midland Neighboring. The challenge is to meet the neighbors around you. I can’t believe after living near you for this long that we still haven’t met. My name is ______, and I live in the house across the street.”
Strangers to Acquaintances
Here are some ideas you might try to move your level of relationship with your
neighbors from “strangers” to “acquaintances”:
- If you see your neighbor outside working on a project or doing yard work, walk over and volunteer to help out.
- Think about something you admire about your neighbor’s house (flowers, lawn, new paint, etc.). Find an opportunity to compliment him/her on this.
Acquaintances to Relationships
Focusing on building a relationship is important if you want to earn the right to speak truth into the lives of your neighbors. Don’t be pushy. Build the relationship first and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom to know when or if you should bring up spiritual things. Here are some ideas for moving your relationship with your neighbors from “acquaintances” to “significant relationships”:
- The next time you’re going to build a bonfire in your backyard fire pit, invite a neighbor or two to join you. Provide beverages, chairs and casual conversation.
- The next time you’re going to barbecue on the grill, invite a neighboring family over to join you. Provide food, drinks, lawn games, and casual conversation.
- If you have a neighbor who you know goes to a Christian church (yours or another one in Midland), invite him/her to join your family in a prayer walk through your neighborhood.
- Purchase or rent a good family-friendly movie, and invite a neighbor family to join you to watch it. If the weather is right, make it a special night by projecting it on a sheet on the side of the house, and don’t forget the popcorn!
- Use the Boredom Buster Board, available at the Faith@Home Center, for other family-friendly suggestions, and invite a neighbor to join you in trying them.
- Begin a neighborhood book club.
- Have a neighborhood Olympics this summer. <<Click here for ideas.
Make a Big Splash
If or when you are ready to make a big splash in the neighborhood, plan a neighborhood block party. Download a free Block Party Kit. Many neighborhoods have small parks that are within walking distance, but if not, check with the city about blocking off the street. Take charge of organizing the event, but get the other families to help provide different needs. Some of the things you will want to include in your party are:
- lots of great food and drink (make it like a potluck so that everyone isn’t just eating their own food)
- some games that can be played by young and old alike
- a game or two for the men to interact around (horseshoes, kubb, cornhole, etc.)
Resources at Midland Free
FREE movies are offered for the whole family and neighborhood to enjoy. Movies begin 10 minutes after sunset and, if necessary, are shown through “Clear Play.” June 22, July 27 and August 22.
Books & DVDs - Available to preview or purchase at the Faith@Home Center:
- Making Room for Life: Trading Chaotic Lifestyles for Connected Relationships (by Randy Frazee) offers biblical solutions for the church to serve as a meaningful Christian community in an environment of stressed –out lifestyles. Learn how we as believers can radically reinvent our lives to include more time for deeper relationships.
- Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith (by Bill Hybels) shows you how to follow Jesus' model of personal evangelism by "living in 3-D" — developing friendships, discovering stories, and discerning appropriate ways to leave your comfort zone. Learn to share the good news of redemption with people living far from God—and across the room.
- Are You My Neighbor? Classic VeggieTales DVD teaches kids a biblical perspective on loving others through two hilarious Veggie Tales stories. In The Story of Flibber-o-loo, the parable of the Good Samaritan is brought to life in a delightful, storybook adaptation of the biblical tale. The sci-fi spoof Gourds Must Be Crazy! shows kids that “loving your neighbor” means appreciating those who are different, instead of making fun.
- Your Home A Lighthouse: Hosting An Evangelistic Bible Study (by Bob and Betty Jacks) is a practical guidebook that grew out of the authors’ years of experience of opening their home for evangelistic studies. In it you'll find out who to invite, what to study, how to ask good questions, how to answer them, and when to encourage a decision for Christ. Ultimately, you'll discover that the secret isn't in your personal skills or power with people. It's in a simple, heartfelt concern for your non-Christian friends and the power of God's Word.