Outreach Canada Website
/ Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Looking for community in your neighbourhood?
As we ‘get back out there’, how will you be intentional about experiencing & participating in community in your neighbourhood?
We’ve asked our Outreach Canada Team how they’ve experienced community in their neighbourhoods, and what tips they have for others who are looking for community. Our hope is that their answers will spark both your imagination and your excitement to be involved in your neighbourhood!
Community Experiences & Practical Tips!
Here are the two questions we asked our Outreach Canada team:
- How have you experienced community in your neighbourhood?
- Do you have a practical tip for others who may be looking for community in their neighbourhood?
Here are their responses:
Working on a gardening project at our townhouse complex two Saturdays ago. We worked six hours together. One of the best times ever…Having a meal with our neighbors, an open BBQ.
TIP: Be Jesus to others. If you have to open your mouth and say things, OK, but that's secondary.
We put our children into team sports then served those teams with other parents. We made many long-time friends this way.
TIP: Find something you care about and get involved with other like-minded people.
At school drop-off & pick-up for kids, connecting with the other parents. Just the regular everyday connection led to a feeling of community!
TIP: Pray about where you could participate in community. Look for opportunities. Smile. Be genuine. Be a good listener.
Through interacting with our neighbors beside us and helping them when they needed help and asking for help when I needed help. We have baked for our neighbors, watched their houses when they are gone and gotten to know them and their children on a personal level in the years we have lived next door.
TIP: Reach out and welcome people to the community if they have just moved in or take a card and some baking over if you hear someone in their family is sick.
So many ways … from shared interest in some local focus, shared garden produce, rides for kids, praying for our school, walking and talking, working together to address a community need.
TIP: Smile and say hello. Tear down the hedge that isolates you from your neighbours. Get involved in a community initiative. Be available to people. Find a way to contribute to the needs of others.
I have been part of a township gardening group for years. We do service projects for the area we live in, plus hold education meetings. Being able to talk with other gardeners about trials and triumphs of gardening in our area is life giving. Several years ago, when I was serving on the executive of the group at the time, the rest of them presented us with gift cards at food stores when we had a drastic and unexpected change in employment status.
TIP: Find something you enjoy doing and find others locally who share that interest. It may require you to step outside your comfort zone initially, but finding like-minded people who share your interest is refreshing, and stimulating. If you are a gardener there are often community gardens you can join.
The sharing of conversation and hearts around the campfire.
TIP: Create a space where you can welcome others -- we installed horseshoe pits in our yard which are great
Through common interests, such as sports, 4H, clubs.
TIP: Be brave! Take chances. It will take some time to meet enough people that you will find those you have common interests and bond with.
Mainly through team sports as a participant, parent, or observer.
TIP: Get involved and get out of your comfort zone to connect with others.
I belong to a men's group - with no two of us coming from the same church. We (12-15 of us) gather in the basement of one of the men's home on the first and third Tuesdays of every month (with breaks for Christmas and the summer), for fellowship, prayer and study of God's word. Most of the men have been together for over 15 years - took a lot of perseverance & dedication. Coming from different backgrounds & professions (doctor, dentist, finance, engineer, pastor, RCMP, lawyer, broker, real estate agent) we have been able to share & discuss different life issues that we've faced - health, marriage, family, finances, etc. - and pray for and encourage each other. (They were the ones who supported me and helped me overcome my prostate cancer.) We also gather twice a year with our spouses for dinner at a fancy restaurant. This is community - we are there for each other.
TIP: Consider joining a life group with a church.
Enjoy being helped as much as helping others!
TIP: Show interest to neighbors, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Common interests and willingness to explore relevant topics of the day … common challenges … critical thinking and discussion on current events and affairs. Being real.
TIP: Host a weekend afternoon "driveway meet and greet" ... place invites in mailbox or in-person. Supply snacks and soft drinks like lemonade with a BYOB option for other tastes. Give small gifts at Christmas.
TIP: Be the first to initiate friendship.
When my daughter was playing softball, the association needed more coaches. I volunteered to help and ended up coaching for nine years. It was fun to get to see the girls develop their skills and get to know the parents. We have also been involved in the neighbourhood Block Watch program. A great way to meet our neighbours.
I experience community everywhere (while walking, driving, shopping, working, etc) because I choose to see it like that and because I search for it in the oddest places. Every place where there are fellow humans, creatures made in the image of the Lord, regardless of their spiritual strength, if I am there, that's my community. One of the most surprising ones for people is the video gaming community; in there we use the interface from virtual worlds to play together, connect, chat and, yes, to point each other towards God.
TIP: If you cannot see it yet, PRAY for the Lord to open your eyes. Then, start treating others with kindness...And PRAY and made yourself available to be used by God. He will tell you how, with whom, when, etc., all the hard details will "pop" in your head and will feel like the most wonderful and simple ideas.
With our neighbours we support each other with cooking, talking and sharing how life is going. I have also expanded my groups through a boxing gym.
TIP: Sometimes it just takes putting yourself out there, doing the un-North American thing and saying hello, starting conversation and rediscovering the art of caring about others and asking others how they are doing.
When we were living in a small community in the past, we definitely experienced community. We had people who cared for us and watched over us and we did the same. It was an amazing experience.
TIP: Be willing to put yourself out there and be involved in other people's lives... even if it is messy!
A picnic table with free lemonade was a great way to get to know the kids and their parents on our street, as well as others who were walking by.
TIP: Be present in your neighbourhood.
We hope these personal experiences and tips from our Outreach Canada team encourage and inspire you as you look for ways to initiate and participate in community in your neighbourhood!