Guest post by Dr. Tom DeVries
How well do you know your neighbors?
Name your neighbors who live on your right. How ’bout the left? Across the street? More and more we are spending less and less time connecting with those who live around us. How do we know their joys, challenges, and struggles, if we don’t even know their names? How can we invite them to church or enter into a spiritual conversation?
Rock Harbor Church and South Harbor Church are bringing back the unity in community. They are hosting seven Block Parties this summer to get out and have fun, share in some great food, and help get to know their neighbors.
Fair Haven is retrofitting our trailer into the: Block Party Mobile! With the addition of some cabinets, a BBQ grill, and a 13′ x 13′ bounce house, you have an instant party.
The first Block Party happened Wednesday night in Jenison, sponsored by Rock Harbor. Earlier in the week Campus Pastor Louis Ford, some of our summer interns, and folks from Rock Harbor canvassed the targeted neighborhood. A vacant area between two homes on Vos Street, near Pioneer Park, was offered as the site of our first Block Party.
Louis told me they were praying for about 60 people-quite a big party! As the evening went along more and more people from the neighborhood started coming. People driving home from work stopped and joined in. Kids started coming out of their houses and added their squeals of laughter as they enjoyed the bounce house-even Louis joined in!
When it was all over, almost 90 people showed up. Our Rock Harbor Team had conversations, offered prayer, invited them to The Rock this Sunday at 10:45am to experience Rock Harbor. Louis had two follow-up appointments the next day to have coffee with people who needed someone to talk to and were interested in Rock Harbor.
The thing that impacted my heart most was an email Louis received from a 21-year-old young woman who had become disconnected from God and from the church. Listen to her words on the impact of Wednesday night’s Block Party:
I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for everyone being a part of our block party. I don’t know about everyone else but it truly meant a lot to me to have such nice and caring people to talk to and hang out with for a while. It was a refreshing feeling. I also was writing you for another reason that I think you could help me out a lot with. Honestly, I feel you will understand and get it and that I can trust you! You see I have been going to church on and off my whole life. I was one of the girls that was all into everything about church. As I got older I feel that I have lost my way in more than one way. I want to get my life back on track and show myself that there is a higher power up there that I can lean on to help me through the hard times and getting back to the point of my life that no matter how hard it’s gotten or will get that I won’t have to go through it alone. God will be there to help me through it as well as friends and family…
It brings a “Wow!” to my heart, and a tear to my eye. This is why we are doing ministry. This is why Rock Harbor was started and why South Harbor will be starting this summer. We are fully engaged in God’s mission of reaching out to those who need to be in relationship with Him.
Want to help with the next Block Party? Want to host the Block Mobile? You can contact Doug McClintic, Pastor of Mission and Multiplication, and he will follow-up-whether it’s a Rock Harbor or South Harbor neighborhood… or maybe Fair Haven needs to start doing some Block Parties!
Thanks for your ongoing prayers, caring, support, and help as we live out our faith in our community and influence for Jesus Christ.
What a great testimony of how several churches in Western Michigan are engaging those in the community who are not yet followers of Jesus.
- How are you engaging your neighbors?
- In what ways might you bring back the unity in your community?
For more information about Fair Haven Ministries – follow this link. They are a church that’s committed to planting churches!
Get out and have fun, share in some great food, and get to know your neighbors.