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Posts from the ‘Resources’ Category

Lunch & Learn: Developing Neighborhood Leadership

Be A Part Of Loving Oak Cliff

As a follow-up to our Fall 2013 Neighboring series, join us on Tuesday, March 4, at BODY’s bimonthly Lunch & Learn meeting.

The power of neighboring goes far beyond friendly get-togethers and barbecues. Join us as we continue learning how to strengthen Oak Cliff by coming alongside those already at work in our neighborhoods and helping develop new community leaders.

Our speaker, Robert (T-Ray) Manly, Neighborhood and Community Development Director for the Dallas Leadership Foundation (www.dlftx.org), will share the methods DLF has developed to equip grassroots leadership that lead to real community transformation.

Learn more how the church can catalyze this latent capacity in our neighborhoods!

11:30am-12noon – Lunch (bring a brown-bag) | 12 noon – 1pm – Neighborhood Presentation & Discusison

Location: Christ Episcopal Church (534 West Tenth Street, 75208)

March L&L Flyer

CONNECT | Working your Block Map

The first step in connecting with your neighbors is moving from stranger to acquaintance through the creation of a block map.  This tool serves a few different purposes.  Block maps:

  • help you learn the names of your closest neighbors
  • identify gaps in your knowledge about your neighbors and their story
  • provide a reminder to pray for and serve your neighbors
  • become a launchpad for organizing gatherings

For such a simple tool, these are enormous benefits.  If you’re anything like me, prone to forget names and living in a transient community of apartment-dwellers, just recalling people’s names when I see them next is a huge step forward.  Having a block map to record your neighbors’ names and additional information will go a long way toward helping you reflect Christ’s love by interacting on a more significant level.

How do I start?

We’ve provided a block map on our resources page that you can print off and fill out.  Start with whatever information you know, and don’t forget to put your own home on the map!  Although the page is laid out to resemble a street block, feel free to personalize it based on your surroundings.  You can do this by including the addresses or apartment numbers of your neighbors.  Hang it where you’ll see it frequently — such as on your refrigerator, by a bathroom mirror, or near a wall calendar if you have one.   The key is to have it in a prominent spot as a practical reminder that this is a priority for you.

What should you put on your block map?  In addition to names, consider including:

  • birthdays
  • ages of children
  • occupations
  • contact information (offer to exchange your information)
  • hobbies, interests, parts of personal story (i.e. “Recently moved from Ohio” or “Rangers fan”)

The sky’s the limit!  Whatever will help you remember and serve your neighbors better is what you should include.

Still see several blank boxes staring at you?  Don’t be discouraged; this is where neighboring begins.  If you need a little inspiration for ways to connect with those you don’t know yet, check out this post.  It’s often hard or awkward to approach a neighbor of several months or years whom you still don’t know, but being frank and apologetic about your lack of communication with them can go a long way toward establishing a foundation for friendship.

Remember, this step is just about making that initial contact and learning some basic information about your neighbors.  Next time, we’ll talk about how to use your block map to deepen these newly-formed relationships.

God’s Design for Your Neighborhood

[A post by Catherine Peele, BODY’s new Director of Mobilization]

What is God’s design for your neighborhood?  If we are called to neighbor, what are we aiming for?  What should our communities look like?  Ultimately, the question is, “What is God’s design for our neighborhoods?”

One strong clue is found in Isaiah 65.17-25:

“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.  I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.  They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.  The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.

This city isn’t just experiencing the absence of things like isolation, material need, sickness, and injustice.  It’s a place where people live a vibrant and secure life. A place where they can Connect, Celebrate, and Create.

Connect – In a neighborhood functioning according to God’s design, people are closely connected both with one another, and with God.  The relationships among people is a source of joy (v. 19), and their relationship with God is also close as evidenced by free and open communication (v. 24).

Celebrate – Healthy neighborhoods celebrate residents’ skills, passions, and stories.  Understanding the unique gifts and background each person brings to the table allows neighbors to imagine ways their neighborhood can change for the better.

Create – Finally, the natural outflow of celebrating a community’s assets is the creation of good things within the neighborhood for the benefit of its people (v. 21).  Whether it’s something as informal as helping a neighbor with a small task, or as organized as starting a neighborhood club, people will use their skills and talents to address the needs of the community.

Neighborhoods thrive when they function according to God’s design to connect, celebrate, and create.  Next time, we’ll tackle the question of what would really happen if we took the first steps to connect with our neighbors.

Read “A Call to Neighboring” and check out practical neighboring resources here.

A Call to Neighboring

How well do you neighbor?  You may never have considered the question, for we traditionally have thought of “neighbor” as a noun – just the person that lives next door.  But “neighboring?”  That entails actual and meaningful engagement with those living around you, the hard work of seeking the common good of all in your neighborhood.

A “neighbor” is both the person who lives near another and one who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans.  Are you that kind of person?  Most of us would give ourselves a pat on the back in this regard.  I’m a “good neighbor!”

But, “to neighbor,” that’s all together different.  As a verb, neighboring sends us out and challenges us to really know those in our community.  Think of how different would our cities be if people actually took the time to develop relationships and really care for one another.

In the scriptures, a primary instruction of Jesus is to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”  However, the truth is many of us really don’t have any kind of meaningful relationship with those nearby.   Reasons abound – busyness, fear, neighborhood and home design, other associations – but the command remains the same!

Therefore, over the next eight weeks, BODY Oak Cliff will be exploring this issue, sharing stories and providing practical resources for engaging with your neighbors.  The initiative will be in conjunction with several Oak Cliff congregations that will be focusing their October Sunday services on the call to neighboring.

I hope you will follow the conversation and consider moving toward greater engagement with your neighbors!  Are you willing to answer the call?

(See http://bodyoakcliff.net/neighboring for more resources).

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Lunch & Learn | Neighbor the ‘Hood 

09.24.13 - L&L (Neighboring)

TOMORROW!!!  On September 24, join us for a community brown-bag discussion on neighboring.

Mayor Mike Rawlings’ primary GrowSouth priority is to “strengthen neighborhoods.” Considering Jesus’ call to “love your neighbors as yourself,” how can we as people of faith support his agenda by getting to know and loving the people in our community?

Tuesday, September 24 | Noon – 1:00PMs

LifePoint Church | 3203 W Davis Street, 75211 | Just east of Westmoreland

Registration begins at 11:30AM (Come & Visit!)

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National Night Out Against Crime

On Tuesday, October 1, head out for the National Night Out Against Crime event from 5:00-9:00pm at the Kiest Park WPA Stone Pavilion!

National Night Out

Councilmen Dwaine Caraway (D4) and Scott Griggs (D1) are joining forces to provide a Community-wide event for area residen

ts. Many local neighborhood associations within District 4 and District 1 will be participating.

The councilmen are providing the BBQ meats and asking participating neighbors/Neighborhood Associations to bring sufficient side dishes and desserts (disposable containers and serving utensil are strongly recommended).
Bring your family and neighbors and your chairs for a lot of fun and a chance to meet new neighbors!Lots of bands, kid’s activities including bounce house, safety information, DPD and Dallas Fire Rescue, ballet folklorico, and great FOOD!

Protected: Oak Cliff Congregational Neighboring Initiative RESOURCES

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Mental Illness and The Church

With the recent death of Pastor Rick Warren’s son, mental illness has been in the news. As a high profile Christian leader, the tragedy has sparked debate in the public forum about our care for the mentally ill. It’s good to see such an important issue discussed, awareness raised, and stigma confronted – just not under such heart wrenching circumstances!

Unfortunately, some of the response, especially among professing Christians, has been quite sickening. Judgment, condemnation, and ignorance has trumped mercy, love, and wisdom. It should not be so!

Therefore, this past Tuesday, BODY hosted a previously planned Lunch & Learn forum on mental illness. Joshua Pulis, Program Director at the Well Community, lead a great session on understanding mental illness and how the Church can compassionately reach out to those suffering. Follow BODY’s blog over the next few weeks as we put out some additional resources on this issue (tag = “Mental Illness”).

Until then, keep on praying for the Warren’s. May greater understanding and compassion for those suffering under the burden of mental illness flourish among God’s people!