This week I responded to an invitation to lead Neigihbourhood Life at a church, and thought it may be a good little piece to share….
“Yes. Sounds good Marc.
And thanks for the opportunity. I may not be sure what i just said yes to, but its all good.
It may be helpful to know what is expected in terms of time, place….any strategy, hopes, applications, outcome…..or we can wing it!
The possibilities I have offered have been well used so far. I must admit, I am grateful for the many opportunities, as I am with yours.
Some other situations that may be good to know about:
Other (local) groups have booked me for a couple of training sessions and a teaching series.
A few others have done the same. The purpose for this is for follow up – one of the main exercises I do is ‘mapping’ which indicates a persons understanding of ones neighbourhood. The follow up has been typically a month to 6 months. At that time the mapping exercise and other training tools reveal the various movements in the participating neighbourhoods, For example in my home church group we found that the 12 neighbourhoods participating showed there were 127 pieces of ‘progress’ added to the map after 6 months. This is a new metric, and indicates some movement in the objective of loving neighbours. The reason I need to share this is that this approach can be quite different from just listening to me speak about this topic or reading the book.
When it comes to groups who are not local….for example, Terrace is booking me for 10 days in the fall with a follow up in January. Little different approach but helps us get acquainted with this neighbourhood approach.
Having said all that, I can do anything you may find helpful. I do lead various sessions which unpack the book. My hot topic is “motivation” (loving our neighbour out of unconditional love as a discipline), “storytelling” and then there’s the mapping stuff…which is very practical and inter generational. I have also led cultural exercises which are helpful in various circumstances ( for example why we all feel the need to “do” over and above just being present). I also have led prayer sessions….and led walks in various neighbourhoods. I have also introduced our Neigbourhood Life tool kit. Its gets to be fun after a while.
It’s all pretty normal, although it seems scary for some, so I go at the pace one would like without compromising intentionality.
And for the record, I have uncovered some principles that may be good to note:
– That our neighbourhood is our best classroom.
– That we love our neighbour out of abundance, not just need (many think this is setting them up to be a service provider)
– That this is about seeking out where God is at work and how we can join Him, not where we set the agenda and ask God to join us.
– That this is discipleship training.
– That fear and busyness are our worst enemies, and their is something beautiful when we overcome them.
– That we must not think of this in terms of program (ie: it doesn’t start at 7pm), rather as practices, placement and posture.
– That the process of re-imagining where we live is a long process.
Much more to share…..looking forward Marc.”