“Neighboring has had a profound effect on me Learning to know and love my literal neighbors and my church’s neighbors has changed how I see my community and how I see God at work in my own life.” – Joy Lenz
We at the Neighboring Movement recently reached a huge milestone. Our first cohort successfully finished a program we developed called the Good Neighbor Experiment. What is the Good Neighbor Experiment? It is a training that asks, “What does it mean to be a good neighbor?” At its most basic level, the Good Neighbor Experiment trains congregations how to meet and develop mutual relationships with their literal neighbors in their neighborhood through Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). What in the heck is ABCD? Basically, it teaches us how to be “asset” based, where we focus on the gifts of others and our community, rather than “needs” based, where we focus on the needs in our community.
To be clear, meeting our neighbors’ needs is important. Providing programs to feed others, offer clothes, and give a helping hand are good things. But, that is a top down mindset, where we provide and they receive. That is not a relationship. When we as churches only focus on our neighbors’ needs, we do not engage in a mutual relationship. We never actually "meet" our neighbor because we only know them in their need. But, when we are “asset” based, we have the opportunity to know the whole person and for them to know us. When we focus on the gifts our neighbors bring to the table, there is room for them to also contribute to the relationship. We get to ask our neighbors fun questions like, “What are you really good at? What can you teach others how to do? How can we connect you to others so that you can flourish?” Being “asset” based breathes life into our conversations with our neighbors and allows for space for both sides in the relationship to contribute.
If you would like to know more about the Good Neighbor Experiment, check out our website at http://www.neighboringmovement.org/good-neighbor-experiment/ . Then, read our blog to get tips on how to meet your neighbors. Also, be on the lookout for our new Good Neighbor Experiment cohorts forming in Topeka, Kansas (Fall), and the Dallas-Fort Worth Area (Spring). Finally, if you have any questions contact Ryan Klinck at firstname.lastname@example.org or Adam Barlow-Thompson at email@example.com