The Listening & Learning Project
What can you do to get to know your neighbors?
Before we can actively love our neighbors, we need to know our neighbors. We can build relationships with our neighbors by listening to their stories and learning about our neighborhood through them. We can do this as a church, as Neighborhood Groups, and as individuals, hopefully giving us a multi-dimensional understanding of our neighborhood. Let’s take small steps together toward loving our neighbors — every one of us getting involved according to our individual availability, personality, and interests! >> Click here to go to the Listening & Learning Project Blog
Father, before we can actively love our neighbors, we need to know our neighbors! Help us to start building relationships with those immediately around us by listening to their stories and learning about our neighborhood through them. Sharpen our long-term vision for our neighbors’ lives. Give us the love, wisdom, joy, and courage we need. Amen.
Consider the following options for you or your Neighborhood Group:
Praying Walking Team
Take intentional “prayer walks” around the neighborhood, with eyes and hearts wide open. Pray through various needs, keeping in mind questions like these: Who is here? What’s beautiful and broken on this block? How can we love and serve this neighbor here? Talk with any neighbors you come across.
Community Meetings Team
Attend local community meetings (ANC, PSA, Neighborhood Association Meetings) individually or as a group. Get to know the important local issues, how things operate, who’s involved, and, if you’re comfortable, get some time with a commission, service provider, or local leader. Share with your team. Pray.
Take a deep dive into the latest census/demographic data on our neighborhoods. Make observations about who’s here, what life in the neighborhood is like, how it’s been changing. Walk through different parts of the neighborhood you are studying in order to “keep it real.” Pray.
Get to know the educational institutions in the neighborhoods. Get to know basic facts about the school. Have a conversation with a principal, administrator, teacher, or PTA member. Keep in mind questions such as these: Who attends this school? What is the greatest challenge for this particular school? For these particular students and their families? How might a church like our love on this school community?
Have intentional conversations with store owners, service providers, or ministry leaders. Get to know them personally. Include in your dialogue questions such as these: What do you think is the biggest need in the neighborhood? What do you think is the best solution (barriers to that solution)? Are there ways a church community might be able to support your establishment/organization? Share with your team. Pray.
Other Creative Ideas?
Come up with a creative idea of your own. Use your unique skills and interests to build relationships with neighbors. Play basketball with local kids at the same park each week. Put together a reading list of articles and books on the neighborhood. Organize a trash clean-up even on your block. Host a dinner or BBQ for your neighbors.
How to Get Involved