Your church members begin immediately to meet their neighbors in a context that is natural and welcomed by both the church member and the neighbor. Every church longs for their members to really become connected to their neighbors. It will actually start happening the first week.
“I tried this yesterday and am excited to report that my son and I met more neighbors in one afternoon than I had managed to meet in five years of owning this house” (from Gainesville).
"I learned more about my neighborhood in three hours Saturday than I had in my seven years living there” (from Charlotte).
God’s blessing as you provide food for the hungry in an Isaiah 58 context ("Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness," Isaiah 58:10, NLT). Your church can be both a witness (“your light will shine”) and a direct catalyst in your community to reduce hunger needs without any major new dollar investment.
This is an immediate and measurable result. With just 20 – 25 volunteers, your church can collect one ton of food next weekend, paid for and donated by the neighbors, and the neighbors will thank your members for doing it.
Deepening of prayer for neighbors. Many of your people who occasionally pray in general terms for neighbors, will find themselves seeing their neighborhood and praying for neighbors in an entirely different way the day after they start Neighborhood Connections Thru Canning Hunger.
Christians Emerge In Neighborhoods. It is common in America for church members not to know about other Christians living nearby. The Canning Hunger approach seems naturally to draw other Christians in the neighborhood to identify themselves. People discover neighbors who share their priorities, find new prayer partners, even find partners for neighborhood ministry.
Drawing unchurched neighbors into helping do Kingdom work. Instead of first figuring out how to get them to visit church, then urging them toward some spiritual decision, and only after that suggesting ways to serve God, this strategy involves unchurched neighbors as upfront willing partners in doing something that greatly pleases God, even while relationships begin or deepen. It’s called withreach.
Longer Term (6 to 18 months, and beyond)
Once friendships have formed, once people begin to talk with neighbors at a truly meaningful level about their dreams and needs, once Christians are praying about what really matters to each neighbor (and some answers to prayer appear), once enough time has elapsed that neighbors can tell the interest is sincere and lasting rather than some quick outreach campaign, then any number of doors can – and do – open wide.
Neighborhood Bible studies form, or grow.
Mothers’ prayer groups appear.
Neighborhood fellowship groups proliferate.
Small group ministry is empowered.
New neighborhood-based small groups form.
Existing small groups gain new members naturally.
Neighborhood-based Angel Tree ministry can develop.
Neighborhood Christmas gatherings become more widespread.
God-given dreams for famliy and community begin to be fulfilled.
Neighborhood self-help ministries emerge.
De-churched Christians find connections.
Unchurched neighbors know where to turn in a crisis.
Churches uncover ministry opportunities previously unknown.
Church and community support develops for specific needs.
Ministry becomes driven by neighborhood-based Christians, instead of church staff.
Community and neighborhood improvement projects evolve.
Cooperation, partnerships among area churches develop.
City-reaching strategies are empowered.
Community transformation dreams begin to get legs.