On July 3, 2004, my wife and I decided that one way to build community in our neighborhood and to get to know our neighbors was to invite the entire neighborhood to our house for burgers the evening before Independence Day.
This year, (July 3, 2008 – coincidentally, this always seems to occur on July 3), was our fifth BBQ, and it was, in our opinion, a great success. There are 120 homes in our neighborhood, and we have found over the years that generally there are a pool of people who attend every year. But that is okay. It gives at least a yearly chance to connect with those whom we’ve come to know.
This year, I placed by the front door 50 name tags, thinking that that was a good estimate of how many would come. Those disappeared very quickly. I’m guessing there were between 60 and 70 folks in our home (it was, of course, raining outside).
This year our BBQ was enhanced and greatly aided by members of the small group that we are a part of in our church. Members came, mingled, and engaged in conversation with our neighbors. The great thing about this was that they were able to help make our neighbors feel welcomed, and should any of these neighbors ever want to visit the church, there will be others there beside Barb and I with whom they will be acquainted.
Also, members of the small group did a great job of helping us prepare and clean up. This year’s event, though always a lot of work, was significantly less this year. Our hats off to our small group, and our appreciation to our neighbors who are ALL great neighbors.