Starting a Citywide Neighboring Movement
Connect with a few influential faith-based leaders in your community
In every city there is a substantial faith-based community. It can be difficult to know how to connect with it and to know which faith-based leaders have the most influence. Here are some keys to seeking out those influencers:
Look for already existing Leader groups
In many cities faith-based leaders already gather together semi-regularly to pray or strategize on behalf of the city. If you simply call their church offices you can figure out if they are already meeting.
Look for large buildings
It’s not necessarily always true, but usually large buildings mean large budgets, which mean large congregations, which means influential leaders.
Find a leader within each different “stream” of churches:
In most cities there will be a few predictable streams of influential churches. Strangely enough, many times these leaders have never met each other.
- Baptist and/or “Bible” churches
- Charismatic/ Pentecostal
- Main Line Denominations: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, and/or Anglican.
If you know a few church going types, they probably know which churches in your city cater to which populations.
If you simply type into Google “Church in YOUR CITY” you will usually have the largest most influential churches within the first page of the google search. Google usually prioritizes the search based on how many time people visit the site or how much the individual entity has paid to be on the first couple pages. This is usually a good indicator of the churches influence in the city.
Make a phone call and an email
Most church web-sites will give you the name and email of the church leader. Often these leaders prefer either the phone or email, but most don’t do both well. Just contact them through both means, and you’ll probably get a hold of them.
Call the meeting
Once you have connected with a few pastors, it would be best for you to call the meeting. It would be best if you could meet at a neutral site.
- Send a letter to the pastors you are inviting
- Click here for two sample letters
- Make sure that you have the following ready:
- A sign-in sheet where you collect their most up to date contact info
- Name badges where they write their name and what organization they are with
- A person to check them in and greet them
- One of the youtube videos from a city that has already launched a neighboring video
- Whoever called the meeting should introduce themselves and share a short 5-10 minute vision statement about why they called the meeting. They should share about why they care about neighboring and feel that it is valuable (if this was a result of the book, it might be wise to pass out copies).
- Show a youtube video from another city.
- Ask those who are in attendance if they have interest in doing something similar in your city? Give them a way to indicate this by sending something around the room that allows them to commit to meeting again.
- The goal is to leave this meeting with a plan to invite senior leaders from all of the churches in your city to the next meeting. Use the Art of Neighboring Invite Letter.
- Encourage local faith communities to work together to launch a neighboring movement
- Celebrate the big and small wins along the way