Last night, I shared some ideas for building a neighborhood with a friend who will move to a house in a few months. After all these years, I rejoiced about so many beautiful things that happened in the one-mile radius around my home in Pennsylvania. Oh, the things we’ve all experienced together because we chose to believe that God searched out the exact place where we live (Acts 17) and how loving neighbors was one of the best things we could do with our time.
I remember these 10 ideas that our neighbors have enjoyed together (some initiated by me and some planned by others):
- Saturday Morning Pancakes: Invite everyone over! Arrive in pajamas if you want. Drink coffee and bless the children with pancakes.
- A Walk to School campaign: Call all the parents and walk!
- A Neighborhood Fitness Night: Get jump ropes, balls, bikes, kites, and a Frisbee and arrive on someone’s front lawn, nearby parking lot, or school yard.
- A Neighborhood Monday Night Dance Party during the winter: We danced to favorite tunes for one hour.
- Potluck lunches or dinners. The Italian Mama lunches changed my life. I had never felt so loved and pampered.
- Creative Writing Nights: One year, we met to help each other with manuscripts and writing ideas
- Guy’s Night Out. They go to local restaurants and enjoy a night together.
- Gathering to watch a television show or sporting event
- Holiday parties like Gingerbread house making, Easter Egg Hunts, and Halloween parties.
- Service projects to help the local elementary school or shelters
Based on the personality of your family, you can do different things. The family down the road hosts a game night on Friday night and viewing parties for certain television shows. Other families host the block parties and BBQ’s in the summer. Some families help with gardening, bake bread for neighbors, and even help clean houses.
With evolving technology, our neighbors have a GroupMe morning text check in about walking and general hilarious banter about what’s happening with our families.
Community and connection won’t happen all at once. For me, it took a few months–even a few years–before I felt so deeply connected to people that I just couldn’t imagine a happier, more fulfilled way to live.
Spring is a great time to gather the neighbors! May God bless your neighborhood! Not everyone will respond to your efforts, but some will. And your life will never be the same.