A couple of months ago we started talking as a staff team about what our Spring season, here at Reservoir Church would look like. A recommendation to read a simple book called the Art of Neighboring, by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon, became the catalyst to a broader conversation around how God and neighboring can bring us a life that is brimming with abundance and connection. It soon became a jumping off point for vision around this next 6-week series we are entering, surprisingly called the Art of Neighboring!
Over the next few weeks you will be invited to think and pray around your own neighboring efforts… whether this appeals to the idea of connecting with your literal neighbors, the person you regularly see at the coffee shop, your colleagues, the person you pass by in the park or your school-mates…our hope is that it will open wide this idea that living in close community with your neighbors is an entirely great way to live. We are inviting you to look at the words of Jesus afresh:
Matthew 22: 37-40 (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
God invites us to love the way he loves and he suggests that putting our love into action is a necessary piece to fully experiencing Him. So perhaps it’s worth taking this greatest commandment seriously and centering our lives around it, so that we can experience a whole host of good things in the midst from God, like peace, flexibility, compassion and supernatural resourcing for our lives.
During this season of neighboring you’ll hear stories and different perspectives on Sunday mornings, as well as have the opportunity to check-out and take with you raw materials from the “Neighboring Table” in the Dome and access them here on this website, too. We have lots of fun ideas for neighboring in a more step-by-step fashion. In addition we are looking forward to:
- Youth Walk for Hunger Sunday, May 1st.
- 24-hour prayer opportunity on Saturday, May 21st.
- Carl Medearis, Long-time friend of our church, will be our guest speaker on May 22nd.
- Neighborday! An invented holiday to celebrate our neighborhoods on May 28
- Soccer Nights Begins June 27th – perhaps one of our finest examples of collectively neighboring well in this North Cambridge community!
Things to Think About
Every week we’ll share some thoughts and ideas that we hope will be grist for greater conversation and thought around neighboring in your life. You can pick up a printed copy in the Dome each week, or follow along on our blog.
We are also really excited to hear how neighboring is going for you, as you move along in the weeks. So if you have a story you’d love to share you can email us at email@example.com. Or if you are more inclined to post how neighboring is going for you on your social accounts, please do so using #neighboring #reservoirchurch and we’ll do our best to share your stories.
Neighboring in Community
We understand that for some of you the thought of neighboring can feel daunting and that you might be helped by pursuing this with other people. If this is you, and you would like to check out getting connected to a Community Group, please check out our listing of Community Groups and get in touch to try one out!
Here are some printable postcards to help you get started saying hello to your neighbors. You can find these in the Dome already printed out, or print them yourself at home!
- “Hi, Neighbor!” Postcard
- “Sorry we haven’t met yet” Postcard
- “Happy May Day” Postcard
- Gift plant tags: Flowers | Salad greens
- “Let’s Start an Email List” Postcard (you can create a Google Group to organize your list of email addresses, or just send everyone and email with everyone’s addresses)
Neighboring Tool Kit
Here are some more neighboring ideas, in no particular order!
- Try to learn names! Even if it takes a while to get it down, your neighbors will appreciate being known.
- Be around!
- Garden in the front yard
- Walk around your neighborhood without headphones in, and try to make eye contact with people you pass on the street
- Keep your blinds up so you can wave when people walk by
- Go outside if you see your neighbors outside
- Offer to loan things or ask to borrow things
- Offer to pet sit or ask for pet sitting help
- Offer to bring the mail in or keep the sidwalk shoveled when they’re away
- Prioritize neighborhood parties and events
- Get your kids in on neighboring
- Ride bikes or play in the front yard
- Offer to carpool rides to school or activities
- Swap babysitting or playdates
- Make it easy for them to see outside to wave as people walk by
- Feed your neighbor! Bake some cookies, make rice crispy treats, or bake a loaf of bread. Food is an excellent excuse to say hello, or you can welcome someone to the neighborhood, thank them for shoveling help, celebrate a birthday or birth,
- Split a farm share/CSA, or share CSA pick-up duties with a neighbor who goes to the same place
- Set up your own Tree Tag Project (or make yours a sidewalk chalk project!)
- Summertime sidewalk chalk “wars”: Invite your neighbors to add to chalk drawings around the neighborhood! Draw puzzles (i.e. tic-tac-toe), unfinished pictures (i.e. draw the alien piloting this flying saucer), quotations, limericks, hopscotch boards, or anything else, on the sidewalks in front of our respective houses or connecting sidewalks. An invitation for all neighbors to create lively sidewalks!
- Walk your city! Encourage pedestrians to explore your neighborhood on foot. For extra credit, make some signs.
- Leave something, take something.
- Start a walking (or biking!) group.
- Host a thing!
- Start a dinner club that rotates through different houses in the neighborhood.
- Plan a progressive dinner, where each course of the meal happens at a different house.
- Have a car wash party, and wash all of the cars in the neighborhood. Many hands make light work!
- Host a game night, a movie night, a house concert, a cookout, or just an open house.
- Organize a block party! In…Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Boston, Medford, Winchester, Bedford, or do a quick search for your city name and “block party permit” and you should be able to find the guidelines.
- Help your neighbor collect yard waste, or offer to take their recycling or electronics to be properly disposed of.