What is Neighbors Helping Neighbors?
The vision of Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) is to provide an affordable mission experience for youth groups that are regional or small in size. Its focus is to draw from church congregations of 150 or less in average Sunday attendance or from churches in the Mountain T.O.P. service area (Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, White, Warren, Bledsoe, VanBuren counties). The program provides a blend of home repair, worship, and overnight camp experience.
Every church who participates in NHN must meet at least one of these requirements:
- Have an average Sunday attendance of 150 people or less
- Be located in the Mountain T.O.P. service area: Grundy Marion, Sequatchie, White, Warren or Bledsoe counties of Tennessee.
How does NHN work?
Participants form Youth Renewal Groups (YRG) made up of youth and adults from each church the camp community as well as a mix of ages, genders, mission experience, and churches, with no family members, best friends, or couples in a group together. The YRG experience encourages youth to step out of their comfort zone in a safe Christian community.
Youth and adults spend 3 days completing minor home repair projects in the community. Projects can be anything from constructing a porch or shed to painting or doing basic yardwork. On the worksite, YRGs are encouraged to sit and spend time with the family they are working with throughout the day, inviting them to join the group for lunch, devotional, and any time of prayer.
At Mountain T.O.P. we believe that it is important to take time to connect the reason why we do service. To do that we provide multiple times throughout each day that we as a community intentionally focus on God’s presence in our work. These range from morning personal devotional time to evening sharing and worship in unique settings.
The evening schedule in camp includes games and activities planned by our staff, so that the groups have an opportunity to get to know each other better. In addition, there is nightly free time to hang out.
What is the goal of NHN?
Mountain T.O.P. sees the spiritual formation of participants as just as important as the labor in which they participate. Our goal is that participants have a life transforming experience that extends well beyond their week of service here on the mountain. We keep specific outcomes in mind with regards to our participants of NHN. In the short term we hope to see such things as an increased leadership capacity, an increased interest in missions, and an increased involvement in home church. In the longer term, we hope to see such things as an increased resilience and desire to impact a participant’s local community.