In our last newsletter we talked about what a city is and why it is important. We challenged you to find out published data about the city and then a ZIP code and Census Tract. But this is historical information which gives you some idea of what the place is like but it is important to get information about a place that has known geographic area and people know they live in a specific area and that is called a neighborhood. Lets talk about what a neighborhood is and why it is important.
Neighborhoods help to shape people's lives because they do more than just house people - they connect people. Great neighborhoods provide safety, increase a sense of community, individual empowerment and citizen participation. They provide a basic line of support to families. Neighborhoods form the most immediate environment for children to socialize outside the family and through that socialization build confidence and develop coping skills. We believe truly great neighborhoods provide a foundation for great families, great communities and a great America.
A Neighborhood can be defined in its simplest terms as one portion of a city that is identified historically as a geographic place. According to Alan Roxburg video "Why Join God in the Neighborhood", churches should focus on Neighborhoods because:
- Churches used to be designed for a neighborhood.
- Our society has changed and people drive to a church.
- We must go to where the people are.
- Going to people is who God is, not having them come to Him.
If you would like to view to Alan Roxburg video Click on the video below
|Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood
Below are some thoughts presented in the "Moving Back to the Neighborhood Workbook" published by the Missional Network. that we in Neighborhood Transformation fully ascribe to and teach.
God is active in our neighborhoods. The first proposal is that we discover what God's up to in the world and what it means to be the church as we move back into the neighborhood.
God has already gifted the people of our churches. God has already gifted and called the ordinary men and women in ordinary churches to participate with the Holy Spirit to do ministry.
Asking new Questions. Our sight and our habits can begin to be reshaped as we ask new questions about God, ourselves, and our neighbors. These are questions about being God's people in a community; and when we ask God-questions, it's not about inside or outside but something entirely different.
A local church is called to be a mission-shaped people. The reason local churches are called into existence is that they might be God missionary people where they are. For too long local churches assumed that this mission was about getting people to come to them and join their church. We need a different way of being God's people where a local church is shaped by what God is up to in its neighborhoods and communities.
Our Communities are changing dramatically. Our communities are moving from those homogenized neighborhoods where everyone looked the same. Our neighbors are now a part of the new pluralized, globalized world forming before our eyes. Neighborhoods are now characterized by multiple, competing value systems living side by side in the same community.
Globalization is creating new kinds of neighborhoods across the street and around the corner
where we live. This is the work of the Spirit. As God's people we're being invited to join with the Spirit by pitching our tent beside the varieties of cultures living all around us. Our worlds are no longer separated by national and ethnic boundaries. Jesus' disciples will be shaped
by spiritual practices for engaging their neighborhoods, asking what God is up to and joining God in these places.
Staying in touch with our changing communities The communities where we live are the primary context of the church's calling. They are changing. Programs and strategies that were effective five years ago no longer connect with people. We have to stay in touch with our changing communities so we don't become ingrown, irrelevant timepieces, reflecting a particular era and a single ethnic group.