Going From a Small Fish Fry to a Block Party
Six years ago, Chris and Elizabeth McKinney threw a small fish fry in their driveway with 4-5 families around them. Having just moved into the neighborhood, they thought it would be fun to get to know some of their new neighbors. They enjoyed it so much, they planned several other get-togethers and soon met another couple who said they’d love to help create a sense of community in the neighborhood. The following year, they worked together with a lot of neighbors to pull off a larger block party where 75 adults and kids attended. The parties continued to grow from there and they saw a shared desire - even hunger - for community amongst neighbors.
Relationships began to form and they began to see God do something really special. They built common ground over shared interests, hopes, and concerns. There was a sense of mutual respect and need for one another. Neighbors saw that they cared about many of the same things they cared about - including the flourishing of the neighborhood - and that their motivation behind serving wasn’t to sneak in a church invite or to give up on them if they weren’t spiritually interested. And then as they prayed… neighbors began to come out of isolation and loneliness - into relationship. And they saw that even the most ordinary, mundane conversations could be used to encourage and further a neighbor in their spiritual journey toward Christ. That even some in our post-Christian culture who seemed “done with God” weren’t so done after all.
“It is important to remember that we don’t engage in the needs, dreams, and pains of our communities so that they will become Christians; rather we engage the community because we are Christians. We don’t serve to convert, but we serve because we have been converted. We contend that the most fertile ground for evangelistic conversations is a servant-rich environment.” (Erik Swanson and Sam Williams, To Transform a City referenced in The Art of Neighboring)
Chris and Elizabeth have created a short video explaing the details of how to throw a block party. They share details of everything from what music to play to the need for porta potties. Click here to watch!
Love this attitude. “It is important to remember that we don’t engage in the needs, dreams, and pains of our communities so that they will become Christians; rather we engage the community because we are Christians. We don’t serve to convert, but we serve because we have been converted.” So many of us get this wrong, and when we do, we show that our “agenda” is more important than the person we are supposed to be loving. Well done!