How to Celebrate National Night Out Connection with others is more important than ever. There are lots of ways to get to know our neighbors and build bridges for relationships with them. Through intentional gatherings (i.e., parties!) in our neighborhoods, we can connect with the people around us. From a simple dinner to something much bigger, we want to share some inspiration AND practical tips to help. One great way to do that this year is National Night Out. National Night Out is an annual program that aims to connect neighbors and local services like law enforcement, firefighters, and more. Each year, neighborhoods host fun and creative block parties and events to build connection and increase awareness for drug prevention, safety, neighborhood watch, and anti-crime efforts. This year’s National Night Out is on Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Host a National Night Out Event for Your Neighborhood Invite local law enforcement, firefighters, or city officials to come visit. Many cities have special programs for this event and can bring out equipment they use to show to children. Fire trucks are always a big hit! Bring in a Kona Ice truck or a food truck for the neighborhood to enjoy together. Have sidewalk chalk and outdoor games ready to help connect kids in the neighborhood. Help everyone feel safe with social distancing recommendations. Encourage people to stay 6 feet apart and use face coverings when close to others. Have families bring lawn chairs and arrange them around a cul-de-sac or in their driveways to chat from a distance. These steps may seem strange when you’re getting to know new people, but they will help everyone to feel comfortable and able to participate. Keep it simple. The goal of the event is to get outside, make connections, and get to know each other. Get to know your neighbors Is there an older couple in your neighborhood that is retired and has family living far away? A single parent? A family from another country? People of another faith? Someone who has never known a friendly Christ-follower? A couple of young adults? Or even a family of Christians who have never had neighbors reach out to them? As neighbors, we can find out! There are endless possibilities and meaningful stories that God may have placed in our midst. How are we going to open up our doors? National Night Out can be a starting point. Find out where everyone is from, how long they’ve been here, and start connecting. Great relationships may start to form as a result. Continue the party by becoming a Neighborhood Lead! We know that when Jesus talked about “neighbors” in Matthew 22:36-40, he meant more than simply “the person living on our street.” But isn’t our street a great place to start? We have the chance to engage with people in our neighborhoods who may be reached by no one else. We don’t know if these nearby neighbors are spiritually curious, wanting to find a church, or facing difficulties behind closed doors that no else one knows about. So, once you’ve celebrated National Night Out with your neighborhood, keep the party going throughout the whole year! Become a Neighborhood Lead to serve, connect, and grow with your neighbors today.