Some people have asked me “Exactly what is Neighborhood all about” so I wrote this to share with people.
When a church in a new city asks for an Envisioning Seminar, we ask them to bring people from multiple churches together for this five hour training. From the seminar, we hope to find three to five local churches that are interested in trying the NT approach in working with people in their target neighborhood.
The next step involves training church members to be a Facilitation Team. These trainings can be done either segmented, six Saturdays, or in three weekends, spread over 18 months. Typically, we have laypeople from three to five churches coming together for the training. They also begin small group wholistic training in churches.
After the training, each church team explores 3-5 nearby neighborhoods for potential to begin. Each team then chooses their own nearby underserved neighborhood. The team begins to identify assets of individuals and builds a data base of the assets found in the area. They also begin to visit religious leaders, government, non-profits, and local groups in their chosen neighborhood to find out who is doing what, and to begin to develop relationships with them. The idea is to work together, not to compete with them.
The team presents their findings to the people and asks them for their dreams for their neighborhood. Then a matching can take place, matching people’s interests and assets to individuals and associations in the neighborhood. The team then begins teaching multiple small groups based on the people’s specific topic of interest.
The neighborhood elects a neighborhood association, if there is none, and they are trained in how the program works. After the training, the association chooses local people as Neighborhood Agents of Change (NAC). The NACs are trained for 30 to 50 sessions on topics of the neighborhood’s interest. The NACs begin visiting their neighbors sharing what they have learned as the training is going on.
An association of churches from throughout the city, which are doing Neighborhood Transformation, start to meet together in order to learn from each other and impact their city.