The Neighborhood Church

August 3, 2005 by

Growing churches can quickly draw the ire of surrounding neighbors, especially if churches neglect to be good neighbors—something that should be obvious for Christians. Church expansion plans can change the shape of a community, upsetting neighbors in the process. And don’t discount all the noise, traffic and litter that come with large groups of congregating people.

First Church of the Nazarene in Salem, Ore. faced these issues as it considered expansion, and quickly learned the importance of being a good neighbor. Hosting neighborhood outreach events and block parties has helped them improve relations with their community.

Another Salem church, Court Street Christian Church, has ended up in court over plans to build a 500-seat sanctuary. Now the Salem City Council will hold a public hearing over the issue.

Bottom line: How a church gets along with its neighbors can make quite an impression—for good or bad.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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3 Responses to “The Neighborhood Church”

  • terry
    August 3, 2005

    interesting post. we’re seeing this quite a bit here in NJ. i’m also noticing the trend for churches to go to court and then (if it’s even possible) welcome them into a gathering for worship??? how do you do that? “we’re going to sue you; come worship with us.” be creative, do ministry differently, use up all the hours of a day and hold services all day, in different places. do something other than sue. anyway, if the state says “no” then you submit and move on. obviously, it’s not the right time, direction, etc. we’re facing a space issue but WE WILL NOT sue our township.

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  • Jonathan
    August 3, 2005

    Why not plant another church or another service? Sounds like a much better idea to me.
    How do you be Christ to your neighbourhood if you antagonise them by sueing them?

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  • Shawn Wood
    August 10, 2005

    The “not in my back-yard” philosophy is often times led by a few lous voices in the town and is not the majority view. It would be a mistake if eveytime a few towns people told churches that they can not grow for us to just tuck tail and move. I am not saying that suing is the only way, but if it is simply a few voices it may be A way…

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