Monday, August 18, 2014

When Community Changes Your Life

We have a group of friends and neighbors who get together every Thursday night to connect as a community. We take turns hosting with our neighbors so that we host every other week. Neighbors know that they have an open invitation to stop in whenever they are able. These times are great because we get to connect with God by talking and praying with each other, we connect with each other by having game nights and over great conversations, and we connect with our neighboring community by finding different ways to regularly be a blessing to those around us...and EVERY time we eat together.

It is our community and it is one of our family's favorite nights of the week. Regularly the kids ask, "is it potluck tonight???"

This summer we really wanted to do something special for our neighborhood. Many neighbors who we haven't gotten to invite personally have noticed cars outside and people in the yard and will often stop and ask us, "why are there always people in your yard?"

We got together one Thursday, prayed about it, and began by asking the question; what can we do to bless our neighborhood this summer? Ideas started to ignite and we gathered to brainstorm what we could do. We decided that it would be fun to invite families over for a 4 night backyard family festival. Those from our Thursday night community planned the event and broke up into groups to oversee basic areas.

I watched in awe as it all unfolded this past week. Each night more and more neighbors came with beaming smiles and we got to connect with our neighbors and even with kids and families that we've never even seen before.

It was the COOLEST THING EVER to be part of a community that genuinely wanted to bless the neighborhood and then jumped right in by using their unique gifts and talents to make that happen!

Some people used their administrative gifts to plan out the events for each night and to get people the things they needed to lead...

Some people helped setup tables and chairs in the backyard...

Some people led fun songs to sing and teaching times...


Some of the kids helped make the signs and hand out the invitations...


Some people led groups of neighborhood kids through the activities each night...


Some people helped kids with the crafts for the night...




Some people organized games and even created a homemade piñata with the candy hidden in a smaller box inside. :-) It was so indestructible one of the teenagers had to break it (some of our friends brought another piñata for the younger kids too!)


and everyone brought some food to share on the last night.


We all had a blast making new friends and sharing God's love together as a community.


It was an incredibly energizing time and I think that everyone who used their time, gifts, and resources to bless others came away from the week more blessed than those who they were serving. It's so cool to have made new friends in the neighborhood and to have been able to share one of the most important things that we have to share with the neighborhood: the love of God.


I don't know if you have a community like this in your life, but I know that we can't imagine living any other way anymore. In fact, I know that we could not do what we do as a family if it weren't for those who we share life with walking with us. BUT here's the good news if you're not, this really is not that hard to get started. There's no shortcut to community, because it does take time and intentionality, but it can begin by simply inviting people over regularly to eat, pray, connect, and serve. From there it just leads to more and more great things that God can do through a group of people who love each other and use their gifts to love and serve others. Our prayer is that this community would be part of changing the lives of others in the same way that it has changed our lives. If you're interested in some more thoughts on what it takes to experience community here is a great article I read today about community.

Has community changed your life?

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3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful and beautiful idea! We are having a week-long revival at our church, and just last night, the message was about how sharing the Gospel is crucial to keeping the fire burning in our own lives. Sometimes it feels like we live is such a disconnected society... no one knows their neighbor's names or even say "hello" in passing anymore. Thank you for sharing what you and your family, friends, and neighbors have done to regain a sense of community and share the Gospel. God bless!

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  2. What an incredible idea!!:-) I love it!

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  3. That's so cool that you have that community to be part of! That pinata picture is great!

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