THROW A NEIGHBORHOOD PARTY!
A FEW TRIED & TESTED PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
1. Get it on your calendar. You have to schedule it or it will never happen. Schedule a time that is available for the majority of people. Sunday afternoon or evening is typically a good time. Scheduling around “life events” can work too – such as a sporting event or seasonal themed party. Make sure you get the word out to everyone with at least a 3-week notice.
2. Choose what kind of party. Consider your neighbors; are there several kids, older couples, mixed group? This may determine if you want to have a “block party” or a dinner party. IDEAS: rent a moon bounce for the kids, have a cookout, fire-pit party (roast hot dogs & smores), holiday themed - Easter Egg Hunt, pre trick-or-treating block party, Thanksgiving neighborhood feast (pot luck style), or Christmas Party.
3. Invite everyone. Invite a large group of people. This will avoid the impression that you are being exclusive - inclusivity is important! It also gives you a much higher chance for success.
4. Make nice flyers or invitations. Make sure your invitations aren’t cheesy, unprofessional, or unclear about why you are doing this. If you aren’t skilled at creating graphics it’s worth finding a friend who can design a good flyer; or you can always purchase nice party invitations. Somewhere on the invitation say something such as, "We think it’s about time to know our neighbors!" People want to know your intentions, and people like to be invited to nice events.
5. Don’t over-plan. If you have food you won’t need to prepare "entertainment.” Allow conversation to be the centerpiece of your time. Only prepare a brief introduction to the time together giving instructions to have as many conversations with as many people as possible.
6. Involve your neighbors as much you can. See if anyone would like to help prepare and/or provide for the party. This helps ensure that they will be there and feel more invested.
7. Be transparent about your faith. People may be curious as to why you initiated the party. Simplify your reply by saying something like, “knowing your neighbors is something that Christians value.” A simple, short statement like this is all that’s needed to share with your neighbors a little about yourself without sounding like you have an agenda.
8. After your first party. Once you have one party – you and your neighbors will likley want to have another. Consider a different neighbor hosting it at their house or yard, so it becomes more collaborative and owned by everyone.