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Before 'Transforming' Your Neighborhood, Talk to Your Neighbors

Before 'Transforming' Your Neighborhood, Talk to Your Neighbors

For my failed megachurch, renewing the Near Eastside of Indianapolis meant stopping long enough to listen.

We've discovered that this kind of conversation is an active way of life—essential to the abundant life into which we have been called in Christ Jesus. Finding God moving in our midst and transforming our neighborhoods, continuing the work of reconciling a broken world and drawing it deeper into the communion for which it was created—it all started, at least for us, with stopping long enough to listen.

C. Christopher Smith is the editor of The Englewood Review of Books and presently is co-writing a book entitled Slow Church (forthcoming, Likewise/IVP). He blogs at SlowChurch.com.

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Displaying 4–4 of 4 comments

Samuel J. Lima

January 05, 2012  1:51pm

This is a great article! It reinforces my belief in an open and public community development process (as an urban and architectural designer, I use the Charrette process to get input from communities). I believe churches should always be involved in the shaping of their neighborhoods, but for this to happen, two criteria must be met: 1. The church must be in a neighborhood. Many churches since the 1950s have abandoned neighborhoods and built anew on cheap land in car-centric, disconnected locations, effectively isolating those who can't drive (this includes children) and ensuring a homogenous middle class congregation. 2. The church must be at work outside its walls to know the needs of its neighbors.

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