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My husband and I have a dream for our neighborhood right here on Bisbee Drive. We would love to form a neighborhood small group where everyone on our block knows each other well, joins in spiritual conversations, prays for one another, and finds ways to serve in our community together. It’s a wonderful dream that we talk about often. The problem is, we don’t know our neighbors! Our dream for a neighborhood group is a long ways from waving to one another as we drive into our garages.

We finally motivated each other to take the first step in moving towards our dream. We reserved a Friday evening on our calendar for a neighborhood get-together, printed off some simple invitations, and together we walked the block, leaving the invitations between the doors (we were too chicken to ring the door bell and actually talk to people! Sad fact.) Everyone was asked to bring a beverage and we provided some simple snacks.

The night came and we imagined the worst case scenario---that only one person would come and we’d end up entertaining that lonely soul for the entire evening. We also imagined all of them watching out their windows to see if anybody else was walking to our house so they wouldn’t be the first guests to arrive. That seems to be what happened. Christina and Anthony’s mom (I can’t remember her name) came first with their kids. The rest soon followed. Out of 13 households, 8 were present. They spent the time either sitting or standing around our kitchen table as many of them met each other for the first time. Conversations were pleasant and warm. People didn’t want to leave. In fact, John, whom we had never met before, was still sitting at our table at 10:06, an hour after the gathering was suppose to end. We heard some interesting life stories that night; some of which I really don’t know what to do with. But the point is, Bisbee Drive finally had a place to get together to share some stories. As people left, they gave us genuine thanks and hoped we’d do it again soon. It looks like Tim and Sam will host the next gathering in a few weeks.

We’re still a long way from forming the kind of neighborhood community we dream of, but this small step has made a difference. As we drive into our garages, the waves are accompanied by smiles. We find ourselves in more conversations as we take evening walks. During one of those walks, we learned that Kevin and Christina won $15,000 in the lottery and believe it’s because of good karma. Is that a start of a spiritual conversation?

Next step: This summer on our driveway we’ll host “Ice cream at the Kelders" on Thursday nights.


Wow, Ruth... sounds like I could have wrote this same post. My husband and I have had the same desire to reach the neighbors. Thanks for the openness about the "struggle" you and your husband felt at initiating this gathering. A few years ago, I had a "recipe" exchange at my home to invite the women in the neighborhood. I, too, wondered if only one or two would come, but my living room was full of women and some great food! We know that relationship needs to happen first before people are comfortable to dig deeper into spiritual conversations. My intent was to continue this effort, but I never followed thru further. Ugh. We truly believe that most neighbors have a desire to connect, but don't know how or are apprehensive about making the first move. We must continue on! Would love to hear how your ice-cream evenings go.

The question I have is there good "study" material (I use that term loosely) that can be used with either just women, or couples that would promote non-threatening conversation yet be intentional?

Ruth Kelder on June 23, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

How about this? In the book, "The Complete Book of Questions" by Garry Poole, you'll find 1001 conversations starters. As you move towards the back of the book, you'll find some that are a little more intentional about leading into spiritual discussions. I also like the idea of inviting some folks over and asking them to write down some spiritual questions they would like to discuss. Future discussions together would be shaped around these questions.

I'm hoping others will chime in with more suggestions!

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