Tag Archives: Becoming Involved

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.

What Is A Suburb

A suburb is a residential area or a mixed-use area, either existing as part of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city

Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population densities than inner city neighborhoods. Suburbs first emerged on a large scale in the 19th and 20th centuries as a result of improved rail and road transport, which led to an increase in commuting.[1] Suburbs tend to proliferate around cities that have an abundance of adjacent flat land.[2]

As people gain wealth around the world, they all usually tend to do the same thing: spread out. A common dream shared among people of all cultures is to have a piece of land to call their own. The suburbs are the place that many urban dwellers turn to because it offers the space needed to satisfy these dreams.

Suburbs are the communities surrounding cities that are usually made up of single-family homes, but are increasingly including multifamily homes and places like malls and office buildings. Emerging in the 1850s as a result of a fast rising urban population and improving transportation technology, suburbs have remained a popular alternative to the city even today. As of 2000, about half of the population of the United States lived in suburbs.

Suburbs are generally spread out over greater distances than other types of living environments. For instance, people may live in the suburb in order to avoid the density and untidiness of the city. Since people have to get around these vast stretches of land, automobiles are common sights in suburbs. Transportation (including, to a limited extent, trains and buses) plays an important role in the life of a suburban resident who generally commutes to work.

People also like to decide for themselves how to live and what rules to live by. Suburbs offer them this independence. Local governance is common here in the form of community councils, forums, and elected officials. A good example of this is a Home Owners Association, a group common to many suburban neighborhoods that determines specific rules for the type, appearance, and size of homes in a community.

People living in the same suburb usually share similar backgrounds with regard to race, socioeconomic status, and age. Often, the houses that make up the area are similar in appearance, size, and blueprint, a layout design referred to as tract housing, or cookie-cutter housing.

This is where most of us live.

But suburbs are changing, now over 50% of the poor live in suburbs today. It is no longer in what was use to be called the inner city. There are near by government subsidized housing, mainly in apartment complexes, in just about every part of a metropolitan area. So now the poor live close to us. This means we don’t have to travel far distances to work with them, they are many times less then 1 mile from our church facility.

So look around your church and see where there is subsidized housing and begin to walk that area two by two greeting people and becoming known.

Stan

Involvement in a Cause

It is important that people find a cause that they resonate with and then get involved at the level of their interest and amount of time they are willing to give. People are involved in different activities based upon their interest in a cause.

  • The first level is Expose where people are testing the water to see what the cause is all about and if it matches their interest
  • The second level is Engagement where they have tested the waters and there seems to be a fit and people want to become more involved
  • The third level is Own which their interest and the cause are in sync and the person knows they want to be involved.

This process can be likened to a funnel

EEO Funnel 1 

Below are ways in which show ways that people can become involved in transforming a neighborhood in each of the three levels. The A indicates activity while L indicates Learn

Expose/Entry Level

Walk in the neighborhood with others, gathering information through senses (A)
Go to neighborhood meeting with someone else (A)
Help prepare for an event (A)
Participate in an event in the neighborhood with others (A)
Introduce NT to church or friends(A)
Do prayer walking in neighborhood with others (A)
Go along with some doing Asset Mapping (A)
Provide administrative help occasionally  remotely or face to face(A)
Create interest in your area of influence to learn more about NT  and to hold an initial training (A)
Input data to set up database for asset responses (A)
Provide needed materials or funds for an event. (A)
Read books about cause from Reading List (L)
Small Group Introduction to NT Principals (L)
Learn about Discipline of Love and create possible list (L)
See movie Bless Child at Home and debrief as group (L)
                                                                          Engagement Level
Learn why and how to do Asset Mapping (L)
Do Asset Mapping in neighborhood with neighborhood activities (A)
Begin to talk about NT to others informally (A)
Help organize and do an activity or event in the neighborhood (A)
Spend time on their own in the neighborhood (A).
Be involved in organizing a NT training with church & or friends
Input regularly asset responses into database and manipulate it looking for patterns (A)
Teach a small group in the neighborhood something they know well and feel comfortable in (A&L)
Participate in Neighborhood Association meetings (A)
Start Neighborhood Transformation training (L)
Apply Disciplines of Love with chosen individuals (A)
Small group six session study (L)
                                                                  Own Level
Continue training and start applying what is learned in the target neighborhood (L&A)
Do Asset Mapping door to door, bringing new people with you (A)
Become part of the facilitation team and begin to do ministry in the neighborhood. (L&A)
Lead small group trainings around the groups interests even if new to the facilitator (L&A)
Train potential new workers in segmented training (L&A)
Make presentations on NT to explain what NT is and elicit  people becoming part of NT (A)
Regularly support NT financially (A)
Invite new people to join you as you do some of your activities in the neighborhood. (A)

Look around and decide how you can become involved in transforming a neighborhood, then do something. Don’t just look and wish, make it happen. Get started today!