REACHING AMERICA NEIGHBORHOOD BY NEIGHBORHOOD
1. Prayer Walking
What would happen if every household around your church was prayed for and B.L.E.S.S.ed, each week? Author John DeVries writes; When a Christian or a network of Christians agrees to “target” specific homes in prayer, the spotlight of God’s love begins to shine on those families. Think of the cluster of people, your target homes, as living in great darkness (Isa.60:2). Then think of one or two Christians praying for that target group. Those Christians become like the rising sun as its first rays creep out to chase away the shades of night. . .And when the light of God comes, inexplicable things happen!
Train groups of Christians to regularly gather to prayer-walk, or do a “drive-by-prayer” using both the Why Pray? book and the 5-lesson booklet called Handcuffing the Guards. Churches who send out prayer teams through their neighborhoods, begin to see their communities change, and some will even experience a greater number of visitors at their Sunday services.
2. Neighborhood Block-Party Trailer
One of the tools available through Reaching America Ministries is the Block-Party Trailer. Hosting a neighborhood block-party on a weekend enables a host family within the community, along with a few others from a local church, to gather neighbors together for a fun afternoon or evening and build new relationships.
The host family, and team, begin weeks earlier by prayer-walking the neighborhood. Following Reaching America’s prayer-walking manual, Handcuffing the Guards, the team prays for each household weeks in advance.
Team members eventually send out postcards to every household inviting them to the block-party event. The Block-party trailer is parked on the street days before the event—reminding neighbors of the event as a mobile bill-board. The trailer itself includes all of the equipment and games to be used at the event, such as: grills, an inflatable bouncy-house, yard games, warming trays for food, a portable sound system, etc.
Reaching America Ministries has published a booklet outlining how to host such an event, specifications to purchase and equip a trailer, and how to effectively use the event to begin neighborhood Bible studies.
A church or a group of churches could share the expense of the trailer, and its contents, making it available to members free of charge. There is already a proven track-record of new churches being planted through this neighborhood ministry.
3. Community Care Groups
Develop “first-responders” of mercy and prayer in your congregation! These community care groups stand ready to respond to special needs and challenges that may arise in your church’s geographical area.
In every community there are households who face major challenges (i.e. disabilities, long term illnesses, house fires, natural disasters, grief, job loss, just to name a few). What would happen if members of the Christian community offered to get involved building relationships while showcasing the love of Christ? But why stop there? The Christian Church also has the wonderful task of sharing the Gospel message! Christians are able, and called, to do something that the Red Cross and all the other government agencies cannot—tell our hurting neighbors about Jesus.
Reaching America offers a 5-lesson booklet on how to train and form these community care groups within the church. The booklet is called The Leaky Temple. After each lesson, there are practical assignments to be completed before the next lesson. The last assignment is a gift-experience survey participants complete as community care groups are formed.
How can Reaching America equip us to reach our neighborhoods and cities?
Reaching the people in our neighborhoods and cities begins with the desire to introduce others to Jesus. We want people to not only see Jesus in us, but know Him in a personal way. Jesus directed us to begin introducing His message in our homes, and continue bringing the message to the very ends of the earth.
Reaching America Ministries encourages today’s church to leave the comfort of our buildings and bring the Gospel message where we live and work. It begins with the people we already know and expands to others we don’t know in our neighborhoods and at work—developing relationships which open doors for sharing the Gospel message and developing disciples.