Good Neighbor Experiment, Topeka Cohort

We are excited to announce a new cohort of the Good Neighbor Experiment (GNE). GNE is a 9 month program designed to help churches embrace neighboring as a missional priority. 

Responsibilities of the Churches

Recruit Participants:

Each church is responsible for recruiting a minimum of 4 lay people and 1 staff person to participate in 3 workshops and to complete 24 weeks of the neighboring curriculum.

Leading the Curriculum:

The church will be responsible for 12 weeks of neighboring curriculum in the fall of 2018 and another 12 weeks in the spring of 2019. It is highly recommended that these classes are open to the entire congregation and other community groups and that existing groups (Sunday School classes, small groups, etc) are encouraged to use the curriculum in a church wide effort.

Planning and Coaching:

Each individual will be asked to…

  • Work on a Block Map for the entirety of the program. The Block Map is a tool for neighboring with the 8 front doors closest to your own front door. 

  • Engage the neighborhood around the church by creating an Asset Map. An Asset Map is a tool for connecting the gifts, talents, and treasures of the neighborhood.

  • Maintain spiritual formation practices as defined by the curriculum

Each Church will be asked to…

  • Create a Neighboring Experiment Plan at the first workshop which will outline the details of their work for the year.

  • Celebrate the progress of the neighboring practice groups

  • Define their discipleship through the lens of neighboring

  • Create a final report which shares the stories created during the year and their plans for future engagement.

  • Participate in a monthly coaching call with the NM team to check in on the progress of their experiment.

Scope and Sequence

October 13 (10am-4pm): Workshop 1, Neighboring Where You Live

Participants will learn the three key ingredients to Neighboring: Relationship, Abundance, and Joy. Each church will create a neighboring experiment plan including a calendar of the full year experiment which will be used to craft their coaching plan. The Neighboring Movement team will introduce Labs 1 and 2 which each church will take back to their context. Churches will need to complete the Labs before the following workshop. 

Lab 1: Key Ingredients to Neighboring

The GNE Labs are each 6 weeks long and designed to be offered in as many formats as possible for each church. In Lab 1 participants learn about the three ingredients of neighboring; abundance, relationship, and joy. These ingredients are key for understanding good neighboring. 

Lab 2: Basic Neighboring Skills

Lab 2 focuses on the basic neighboring skills by putting these ingredients into practice with the 8 front doors closest to your own front door. Each week participants have a neighboring practice that helps them engage their literal actual neighbor.

January 26, 2019 (10am-4pm): Workshop 2, Neighboring as a Church

Participants will apply the concepts of neighboring to their local church and it’s neighborhood. They will begin creating a community Asset Map for their church and commit again to their neighboring experiment plan.  The Neighboring Movement Team will introduce Labs 3 and 4 at the retreat which the churches will be asked to complete before the final workshop.

Lab 3: Asset Mapping

In Lab 3 groups create an Asset Map for the neighborhood where their church is located. This Lab introduces the 6 asset categories and guides the participants in an exploration of each. The work culminates with an effort to share the Asset Map within the congregation and out in the community.

Lab 4: Neighboring is Church

Lab 4 is an exploration of faith communities who have successfully incorporated neighboring as part of their mission and DNA. Inspired by these examples Lab 4 will help participants consider how neighboring could become a missional priority within their own context. 

June 8, 2019 (10am-4pm): Workshop 3, Celebration and Storytelling

The final workshop will be a celebration of the work that has happened. It will include an emphasis on storytelling and some time for the church leaders to consider what happens now they have finished the Good Neighbor Experiment. At the workshop each church will create a final project which can be used to share the story of their work. 

Financial Requirements

The cost of GNE is shared between the churches participating and the Topeka District of the Great Plains Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Outlined below, the cost for participating in the Topeka Cohort will reduce based on number of churches participating. 

6 Churches participating will cost $1500/church

8 Churches participating will cost $1250/church

10 Churches participating will cost $1100/church

Churches will be receive an invoice two weeks before the first retreat for half of the total. This first payment is due at the first retreat. The remainder of the cost will be billed at the second retreat. This allows a church to spread the cost over two calendar years.


Contact Adam Barlow-Thompson for questions about GNE. 316-285-7799

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