Last week, Brittany and I moved into a rental home in Birmingham. Our hope is to have some sort of impact on the community that we live. Below are ten simple ways to engage the community.
Turn off the phone. We miss so much by keeping our heads down and brains engaged in the mindless loop of social media. Taking the headphones out, leaving the phone in the car or muting notifications can keep the focus on conversations instead of pointless isolation.
Get to know the neighbors. It is tough to love people we don't know. Go and introduce yourself. Share a meal together or bake cookies for the neighbors. Just a simple hello can go such a long way.
Support local businesses. Be a regular at a local restaurant or business. Go to the local coffee shop to study instead of sitting at the house or shop at local markets for goods.
Walk. Take walks around the neighborhood and build in time for talking to neighbors who are outside. If possible, walk to the store or to work.
Limit TV and Internet. There's nothing more communally isolating than watching TV and mindlessly surfing the internet. Turn off the electronics and get outside where people are.
Learn a hobby. Whether it be disc golf, weight lifting, bird watching or sewing, there are bountiful opportunities to get connected with new people who have similar interests. Use your interests to connect with the community.
Be involved. Get involved in neighborhood and community events. If there are neighborhood watch meetings or communal events, go!
Loosen the calendar. Busyness is a great enemy of doing good. Try hard to quit things that are not valuable and worthwhile. Don't be too busy to miss the opportunities that are all around to love and care for people as needs arise.
Be available. People always need an extra hand. It may be helping cut a neighbor's grass, walking a dog, painting, moving furniture or any other neighborly thing. Make it clear that you are available and willing to help.
Take people to lunch. Jesus made it a habit to eat with sinners and his disciples. There is something about sharing a meal that breaks down all walls and boundaries. Ask a co-worker to lunch or invite a new friend to grab coffee.
Do you have any more ideas for engaging your community?