How can the church cast a neighborhood church vision within their people without creating a program?
In other words how do we achieve something organically within an institution driven by program, numbers and budget?
I have given this much thought and feel it is possible through the several steps toward neighborhood mission which I will outline.
First we need to make several points very clear.
These steps must be undertaken by those who have a clear value for creating authentic and caring relationships within their neighborhood. It cannot be done through artificially created obligation driven by church leadership.
So if this common strategy is eliminated what is the role of the local church in neighborhood ministry? To put it simply vision casting, support and encouragement. This does not involve financial support or a formal programmatic budget item. It is simply what it says it is.
This would begin by leadership simply casting a vision for caring for your neighbor and providing an outline or template for facilitating neighborhood mission. Then bathing the vision cast in prayer that God would speak to those He sees with a clear value for neighborhood mission. Leadership then should meet one on one with those who in time indicate they have a burden for neighborhood mission outlining the steps to get underway. Their involvement with the specific activities from that point on is simply a mater of encouragement. If it is truly a call from God for those who step forward He will provide as the individual “just shows up.”
Now what should be a part of this one on one start up meeting to cast a vision and facilitate a neighborhood mission ORGANICALLY.
- The development of a neighborhood social media page, FB works very well.
- Getting others in your neighborhood to become part of a social activities committee.
- Plan several activities that will bring people together e.g monthly night out dinner groups consisting of 4 to 5 couples, a book club, bunco, chili cook offs, craft fairs, yard sales, trivia night, cooking classes, vendor fairs, swim parties, Christmas market, cooking classes and golf outings, Men’s Breakfast
- Put out a fleece to see if their is any interest in Men and Women Couples Fellowship Groups on the FB page
- Designate a welcome committee to welcome new residents to the community. Develop a welcome packet and welcome gift.
To move this forward those who come forward need to know some intentional steps that must be adopted to realize the means of a successful neighborhood mission.
- Take steps to map out your neighborhood and know your neighbors names. This will come over time as you identify others with a value for neighborhood mission.
- Make time for your mission and be flexible. Schedule and prioritize.
- Prepare for mission. That can take the form of many different angles depending on your activities and strategy.
- Fuel up with frequent prayer and Scripture study around your mission.
- Pray for your neighbors.
- Look for opportunities. Be ready to engage your neighbors at their level and their need. Listen well. Serve well. Love well.
If you are pretty juiced up after reading these five blogs and are ready to go or have other questions we would love to consult with you and help you move forward.
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