Category Archives: Getting Started in NT

Knowing Your Neighbor

Think of your house or apartment as the center of a Tic-Tac-Toe diagram, with eight spaces around you being residences surrounding you.

Can you name all of the people living in the 8 houses or apartments closest to you?

If you answered the first question, can you think of something about their life that is not visible from the outside of their house?

If you were able to answer the second question, do you know any superficial facts not seen from the outside?

If you answered the first two questions, do you know anything personal about them? Would you consider them a friend and do you help them when needed and they help you?

Results from this exercise

  • Less than 10% of the people know the names of their eight surrounding neighbors.
  • Those that do, only one or two can tell you anything superficial about their neighbors.
  • Maybe one can tell you something deeper about their neighbors and these people have been intentional about getting to know their neighbors.

Most people don’t know the names of their neighbors, let alone anything personal about them. It’s typical for many people to have lived in their current residence for a short time. It’s easy for people to feel isolated and not care if they know their neighbors or not. People find it difficult to know who to go to if they need help.

How Many Different Places Have You Lived in during your lifetime?

Asking hundreds of people in US cities this question, we found the following:

  • Less than 10% have lived in fewer than five places in their adult life.
  • 33% have lived in 5-10 places.
  • 40% have lived in 10-15 places.
  • 15% have lived in 15-20 places.
  • 10% have lived in 20 or more places

This shows us that Americans are very transient. Many people only live in one place for two or three years. Most people are very busy at work and with their kids, taking them to their different activities.  Therefore, they don’t have time for their neighbors, so why make the effort?

Even those who have lived in a place a long time, who used to take cookies to their new neighbors or helped their neighbors, have stopped. They once knew most of their neighbors but today they know they won’t be there long, so why go through the effort.

Are you interested in learning how you can be intentional about meeting your Neighbor? If so click below to download an article on how to Know Your Neighbors.  

https://www.neighborhoodtransformation.net/download.php

 

Are You Interested in Discipleship

If so discipleship is central to what happens in Neighborhood Transformation.

A disciple is a learner with the intent to learn from the master and then pass on what he has learned onto others as he puts it into practice in his own life. It focuses on making obedient disciples. It is not just focused on making  converts. It is also builds  multiplying disciples whose impact  expands Jesus’ kingdom. It is discipleship where people practice their following of Jesus Christ in every act of their daily life. It is where word and deed are  intertwined, not parallel tracks of life. It is a strategy that occurs when a disciple is following God’s direction. It does needs right principles to be applied. It is ongoing, unstoppable and out of control. It is not hierarchical, systematic, or highly structured and tightly managed.

It’s a rapid multiplication of groups and churches. It is not slow, sequential, methodical addition. It’s simply about churches rapidly planting new churches. It is not primarily about expansion of denominations, or growth of organizations. It thrives in an environment of persecution and chaos. It is messy. Disciple making does not do well in a peaceful environment of significant controls, policies, and procedures.

Discipleship focuses on replication. It is not about growing large, highly programmatic, organizations but rapidly multiplying small groups that have a core value of discovering where God is at work by finding a person of peace. It is not about starting church services and inviting people to come. It is about the church emerging from within the culture of the people. It is not about calling the people out of their culture to form a new organization. It’s locally led. While often started by outsiders, it is not led by outsiders who intend someday to turn over the ministry to the people of the community.

It is family-based. It does not seek to extract individual respondents from their families and communities, re-acculturating them and then sending them as semi-outsiders back to their communities, which is powered by ordinary people; unschooled and non-credentialed. It is not driven by highly trained and credentialed professionals. It’s counter-intuitive. It does not fit management theory or organizational development. It’s about developing independent leaders. It is not about building a mass of followers.

It is about simple men and women with the simple gospel for simple people. It is not sophisticated and complex. It’s inexpensive. Once begun, discipleship expands without outside resources at all, which is making disciple-makers of every member. It is not about the few reaching the multitudes. It does not make buildings a priority. The church meets within the community of the people. It places a high level of commitment on the health and welfare of the people; people caring for one another. It is not a strategy of hiring professionals to care for the needs of the people.

Churches never emerge without a heavy commitment to prayer. It has a saturation commitment. It believes in a church for every people. Nor is it about planting a denominational church in every community. The goal is a rapidly expand movement under God’s direction through the people in the neighborhood who want to see God’s kingdom established in their neighborhood.

The goal is a rapidly expanding movement that is growing exponentially neighborhood by neighborhood until it transforms the city. A movement is a group of committed people embracing a common purpose moving towards well-defined goals and who are committed to the spread and multiplication of these objectives. It is based on winning, building, and sending people.

Are you interested in getting a free 10 lesson workshop on Making disciples email me at stan@neighborhoodtransformation.net to get it.

Transformation Requires More Then Doing Things for People and Neighborhoods

For transformation to take place people and neighborhoods must decide they want something different than what they currently have. Then they must care enough that they are willing to do something about it to see the change take place. If that desire and action are not there then no matter what we do for others might be good but generally transformation does not take place. Transformation comes from inside people themselves and neighborhoods.

But we as Western Christians are focused on doing things for others. People might say sure I would like that and gratefully accept whatever we do for them but does that transform them or their neighborhood? The answer is No.

There are three ways of helping people and neighborhoods

  • Relief Doing Things for People. Provides assistance without addressing long term needs  nor using assets found in the people or neighborhood
  • Betterment or Mentoring Individuals to Change Things they Want Changed. Tend to  create short term positive, caring beneficial environments and relationships that offer participants respite or positive experiences. It deals with what the person wants to change
  • Transformation of Individuals and Neighborhoods That is wholistic and is sustainable focuses on measured changes in knowledge, skills abilities or conditions of the participants that  when combined together sees their neighborhood transformed from the inside. It is multiplying as Jesus told his disciples to do in II Tim 2:2.

 An Approach that Fosters Transformation  

  • It is a people-oriented, relationship building process.
  • It is designed to identify assets within the neighborhood found in individuals, associations and institutions, and identifies which of those assets they are willing to share.
  • Once the assets are identified, you begin to link the people you have been building relationships with, to the assets that would empower them.
  • It is based on neighbors helping neighbors, not being dependent on professionals to do things for them.
  • It is designed to build up internal and external abilities.
  • It is designed to be sustainable.
  • It is primarily a grass-root, bottom-up process which requires a person to act as a catalyst and   facilitator.
  • It is a gradual learning process progressing from the simple to the more complex and from the known to the unknown.
  • It works primarily with individuals and households and then impacts the neighborhood as a whole
  • It is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • It requires a moral and ethical focus for relationships to grow, which results from establishing  trust.
  • These ethical values are based on absolutes that do not change, but are the same year-after- year. This is based on God’s Word, the Bible.

There is a place for doing all three but we find most groups are doing relief which fosters dependency What are you doing in your ministry Relief, Betterment or Transformation? Make up a worksheet you can see what your church or organization is doing. Itr will have the following headings

Worksheet for Existing Community Ministry

Ministry What Do Location Leader How Church Assists

(Financial, Church Member on Own, Provides Volunteers)

Relief. Betterment,

Development

Stan 

An Improved Way to Start Transforming a Place

It is critical that we start with what the people in the starting group (which can be a church or non-profit) feel comfortable in doing and are willing to do. They are the ones that are going to be entering the neighborhood and beginning to learn about the community. This is before we have done any asset surveys in the neighborhood to find out the neighborhood people’s skills, knowledge and passion and what they want to see different in their place. That means starting with very small pieces of their time, with things that are easy to do and requiring no continuing commitment.
In many churches, their members never get outside of the church’s four walls to reach out to nearby neighborhood people. The key is to get everyone in the game at the level they are willing to participate. This means we should:
  • Provide regular easy-entry opportunities that give people the chance to change the world. What if everyone in your church at year-end had a story to tell how he or she changed the world? Awesome!
  • Combine opportunity with inclination. Giving motivating sermons is one thing but people need the immediate opportunity to become involved, to put what they heard into action now.
  • Make it personal by people inviting their friends to join them in this specific, one time opportunity. Use the words “Do this with me.” There are three I’s necessary to attracting and asking volunteers
    • Identify specific people who would do a great job in this activity.
    • Inform them personally what they can be doing, in specific terms, if they join you.
    • Invest by giving people a chance to try out something with no strings attached before they make any greater commitment.
  • Begin with the willing. It is important to realize that not everyone is willing. Work with the early enthusiasts who are willing to get involved. Let them then tell their stories and others will come along.
This means we must give people the opportunity to do things in which they feel comfortable.
One way to do that is look at people fitting into three different groups.
  • Doing for Others: Some feel comfortable doing things for people.
  • Coaching and Empowering: Others feel comfortable developing relationships and helping people to change their lives in areas that the person wants to change.
  • Multiplying Ministry: Others desire those changed people to become multipliers by equipping them to equip others who equip others who equip others, which spreads what is happening exponentially II Tim 2:2

Another way is by accessing what type of person they are:

  • A Belong Person: You love to get people together for a BBQ or a party. You like being on the front porch with neighbors. You enjoy helping people find a place where they can relax and be themselves.
  • A Grow Person: You love to help people go deeper in their faith and relationship with Christ. Opportunities like a Bible study or discussing spiritual growth are what get you energized.
  • A Serve Person: You love to mobilize people to be the hands and feet of Jesus. You ‘d rather get sweaty mowing someone else’s lawn than get cozy in a small group discussion. You are looking for ways to help and get others to help
Both ways are similar but slightly different. Our main way of encouraging people to get involved in Transformation A Place in the past was for them to get to know their neighbors by walking around and talking to them as they see them, which is scary for many people.
Also we have suggested that a person hold a spontaneous barbecue in their driveway or yard. Both of those relate to people who are belonging types of people or people who are very relational or an empowering person, which is a similar type. That leaves out the other way of getting people involved.
We have been very aggressive in Neighborhood Transformation in encouraging groups to become involved in their local elementary school. This is a way to get different people to walk their own 2-3 blocks together, via the school where they can begin to minister on a broader neighborhood scale.   But this is further along in the steps for a Neighborhood Transformation.
We need to begin Transforming a Place  after they have chosen the neighborhood they will minister in, they begin to bless their Elementary School. This is done by asking by the Principle how can they bless their school and then do whatever they are asked to do. This allows people who love to serve or do things for others to participate. It is felt that working in a school is safer then walking in a neighborhood. It requires no commitment on the part of the person unless they want to get involved at a deeper level, such as developing relationships with kids, which many see as easier then developing relationships with adults.
We highly recommend that you find out where the different people are who will start Neighborhood Transformation and then give them a variety of multiple, regular opportunities with different levels to participate in where they are. This means opportunities for those who develop relationships by walking around and other opportunities for people who do things by blessing the school.
GIVE IT A TRY

Developing Relationships

 Why People Need Relationships with Others

In the beginning, God created Eve, not only to help Adam, but to share his life. God put this need inside him. God created us to have a relationship with Him, so much so that He wants us to have relationships with each other. A relationship is the process of give and take; we need to give as much as we need to take. Though people differ in their characters and cultures, they still share common characteristics that enable them to build relationships with one another. Though people differ in their characters and cultures, they still share common characteristics that enable them to build relationships with one another. If you are facing difficult situations, or going on a hard journey, you will not feel the suffering as much if you have good company.

How People can Develop Good Relationships with Each Other

So they know and respect each other. For this to happen we must spend time together therefore proximity to each other is important so see each other regularly and spontaneously. We need to have Open and honest conversations with each other. We need to talk about things that are important to both of us. We should enjoy doing things and times together. We should pray with each other.

The key is develop a strong friendship where we listen to each other. There is good back and forth communication. We need to look out for the needs of each other. We should not expect too much of the other, thus avoiding frustration or hurt. There needs to be Borders- where love is not stifling, but there is room for freedom and respect for privacy. We need to be able to confront each other with love and gentleness. You can say no , as we are not always available all the time. There must be trust and transparency with the ability to forgive each other.

Why Relationships are so Critical to Neighborhood Transformation

Relationships are central to Neighborhood Transformation, because without relationships will never get started or succeed. NT is neighborhood based therefore built on neighbor knowing neighbor and have some relationship with each other. We define real community” being all about relationships. Nothing happens in NT without relationships. People must first know each other to develop relationships and if they are going to help their neighbor they need some level of relationship. People only help each other when there is some kind of relationship. A strong Network of people working together only comes through relationships.

Challenge:
Think about the game tic-tac-toe  with your house in the central spot and there are 8 neighbors surrounding you. I challenge you to begin to develop relationships with as many of those eight neighbors as you can. Even if it is only one or two.

More on Prayer Walking

I am trying something new in my blog. I look forward to your reaction.
Prayer Walk your Neighborhood and Pray for the things that you see.
 Prayer Walk your neighborhood and pray for things you see.

As you see things, pray for what you see both good and bad.

Learn about your neighborhood by walking through it and talking to people as you see them.

Learn about your neighborhood by walking through it and talking to people as you see them. As you see things pray for what you see both good and bad. Ask God to open your eyes to what he sees when he is looking at this place.

Prayer walking is central to what we do in Neighborhood Transformation. It gets us into the neighborhood and begins to open us up to view the place through God’s eyes, not your our own. As you walk you pray for what you see.
As you know Helping communities out of poverty and people to maturity in Christ is our cause. www.neighborhoodtransformation.net
 What do you think?

Most People Don’t Know Their Neighbor Do You?

Can you name all of the people living in the 8 houses or apartments closest to you?

If you answered the first question, can you think of something about their life which is not visible from the outside of their house?

If you were able to answer the first two questions, do you know other things about each person in the eight homes? Would you consider any of them friends?

Many of us have lived in more than five places since becoming an adult. Some have lived in more than 20 places.

Most people don’t know the names of their neighbors, let alone anything personal about them. It’s typical for many people to have lived in their current residence for a short time. It’s easy for people to feel isolated and yet not care if they know their neighbors or not. People find it difficult to know who to go to if they need help.

A COUPLE OF WAYS TO GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS

Watch this funny video on doing a barbecue found at Funny video on Neighborhood BBQ

Begin walking a two-block area around your house.  As you walk and see someone, greet them and introduce yourself if you don’t know them.

Plan a potluck barbecue in your driveway or common area of the apartment building and invite neighbors to bring their meat to barbecue and a dish to share. At the barbecue talk to neighbors and encourage people to get to know one another. Find out what they like about the neighborhood and what one thing they might want to change.

Another way to get to know your neighbor is Mission By Walking Around. It involves individuals and small groups of motivated people walking around a small area using their observation skills and talking to people along the way.

Craig told a story about a big city church, built on the streetcar line in the 1900’s but, like many city churches, its members now commute. To their credit, these parishioners came back to the much changed neighborhood and offered programs in the church; they run sports programs, a food program etc., but there was a sense that they were not making inroads. After some facilitated reflection, some parishioners organized a neighborhood walk. Small groups of parishioners decided to simply walk the neighborhood.

Craig said, “At the debriefing after the first walk they looked at each other and said, “Well, we are here (alive)!” You see, for all their good intentions they viewed the neighborhood as foreign and dangerous, and indeed many neighborhoods do look like that until you get to know them. While we may sing, “This is my father’s world,” we mentally exclude the neighborhood in which our church is situated; perhaps we exclude the area where we live as well.  In contrast, the good people of that city church followed up their initial walk by finding out where people actually gather and began to connect with them at those places. I don’t think that church will ever be the same again.” Would that be good news if it happens to your church?

CALL TO ACTION

It’s important to know our neighbors. We can help and encourage one another, build friendships, and feel needed.

If you’re not sure how to start to know your neighbors, or would like more ideas, consider reading the book The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyan.

Let me stan@neighborhoodtransformation.net know what happened when you walked about.