Building a Neighborhood Community Using NextDoor

Monday I reviewed the book Suburbianityby Byron Yawn. It's a call to see the gospel neediness of the suburbanite across the street, even the really "good people."

But how do we get to know these people in our neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs? We live in a garage age. People pull up, pull in, lower the door, and you never see their faces. We've built relationships over the past 4 years, but it takes a lot of time to even just have that first chance to say hello.

Recently my husband and I were praying for our neighborhood and seeking God's wisdom on how to get to know more people. The next day I saw a post on Tim Brister's blog about a website called NextDoor. I was intrigued by his post and by the website, so I told Erik about it and we decided to give it a shot.

Basically, NextDoor is a social networking site for your neighborhood. You set the boundaries on a map online, then the website sends postcards (free of charge) to your neighbors, inviting them to join. There are sections similar to Craigslist, only without the crazies. You can give stuff away, sell things, ask for business recommendations, alert people to crimes or lost pets, plan block parties, etc.

So we launched our site and so far have 14 of 100 homes represented on the site. Some are people we already knew, but there are several families we didn't previously know. So we're building relationships online and hoping to have opportunities to take it offline and share meals together.

After the initial launch with postcards being sent, we're starting to follow up by going door-to-door when we get a chance and hand out fliers. For one thing, it gives us another chance to meet people.

And we're trying to keep things going on the site itself--starting the discussion, helping people get to know each other, and trying to engage people to deepen relationships.

It's not a means to get to know all 100 households, but there is such beauty and joy in community. This is something so many people are missing. We look around and notice many of our neighbors never have people in their homes and just seem to keep to themselves. We want to share the joy of community, and in particular a missional community, with those around us. And NextDoor is just one means by which we're trying to do this.

So I invite you to look into NextDoor and see about setting up your own neighborhood site. It's extremely user-friendly, but if you have any questions I'd love to answer them!

*Full disclosure: If you want to set up a site, using the link on this page makes you eligible for a $50 Amazon gift card when your website is launched and you have 10 members. And it gives me one too! There are no fees associated with the site and you can control how much information you post. Again, don't hesitate to let me know if you have questions.

**The links aren't working for everyone--if you're in that boat, shoot me an email and I'll respond with an invitation: catherinestrodeparks(at)gmail(dot)com