Welcome to Neighbours! – a creative new way for our Elevation community to do life together!
Over the years, the genuine community we share as a church has inspired many people to ‘Journey With Us,’ which is something we’ve hoped for since day one. Naturally, as the church has grown, we’ve experienced some of the challenges in maintaining the same sense of belonging that drew us together in the first place. We believe Neighbours! will go a long way toward helping Elevation continue to grow in a healthy and vibrant way.
So What’s the Big Idea?
Everyone who calls Elevation home has been assigned to a group based on the community they live in. Regardless of a person’s stage of life, interests, or any other factor, they will now be automatically plugged in to a neighbourhood-based network that will help us care well for one another and create more accessible entry points to our Elevation community.
In order to get things rolling, we have come up with some soft boundaries to mark out each neighbourhood – ten in all across the region – doing our best to establish groups that are similar in size and with just the right number and mix of people to make this a success.
Every second month, each neighbourhood will host Elevation Eats, a potluck meal following the Sunday morning service, and newcomers will be invited to join the group for lunch in their own neighbourhood. On the months without Elevation Eats, each Neighbours! group will come up with a creative, low-pressure way for members to connect in person in a casual environment.
Of course, what happens in between those monthly connects is really the heart of Neighbours! so each group will be encouraged to find meaningful ways to stay in touch with each other on an ongoing basis.
Here are some of the hopes we have:
→ People will deepen their sense of “place” and “belonging” within our larger community
→ Individuals will be able to pay closer attention to the needs of a smaller contingent of our church community and respond in kind
→ We’ll have a chance to build more relationships outside of peer and stage-of-life groups
→ Newcomers will be integrated in more timely and “intentionally organic” ways
→ We’ll create new opportunities for active, generous involvement in our local communities
→ We’ll stir up more opportunities for thoughtful, spiritual engagement with one another
What is This NOT Going to Be?
● …a weekly small group, a Bible study, or your new prescribed group of best friends.
Of course, we expect some of these things will naturally evolve over time for those who are interested.
● …a one-size-fits-all master plan.
People will engage with one another in varying ways based on interest, capacity, and need. This is not about having high expectations of one another, but about creating new opportunities to connect.
● …the same group of people you will be with until the end of time.
As groups grow, we will shift those soft boundaries of ours to make room for more.
Who Will Be Running Things?
Well, I guess that would be everybody! The idea is that these neighbourhood groups are collaborative in nature, so the more people get involved, the better the experience will be for everyone.
Each group will have a point person who will communicate back and forth with a member of Elevation’s Staff team. This person will be responsible for facilitating conversation about what monthly gatherings will look like and communicating plans with the rest of the group. They will also invite newcomers to join the next monthly gathering or offer to make a one-on-one connect.
Each group will also have a designated member of our Pastoral Care Team who will help coordinate Meal Trains, check in with people when needs arise, and pass on prayer requests and more complex needs to the Pastoral Care and/or Staff teams.
So What Happens Next?
Each point person will be reaching out to their group and then the first neighbourhood-based Elevation Eats will take place on November 24 after the morning service. From there, things will be off and running!