The Good Neighbor Behind Our Good Neighbor Network

Karen Tucker had an idea. She wanted to connect new members of our Church community with those who could no longer make it to Church events, either due to illness or lack of transportation. These people had served the Church for years, and she wanted them to remain a part of our Family whether they could make it to Church or not. Lauren Hardin, our Marketing, Communications and Office Manager sat down with Karen to talk about our Good Neighbor Network and it's new component, the Prayer Network. 


LH: Karen, since I’ve been at the Church I’ve seen you lead Christian Action Ministry, run the Tea Room at the Yule Parlor Tea and now you’ve created a new Ministry, the Good Neighbor Network. Is there anything at the Neighborhood Church you haven’t done?  
KT: I have served on quite a few boards and committees. It’s been a wonderful way to get to know other members of our church and I’ve made friendships that have truly lasted over time.

LH: What led you to create the Good Neighbor Network? 
KT: Over the years I’ve seen members of our church family who can no longer get to services or participate in activities.  It’s sad to see once vibrant individuals become isolated or separated from our church due to health issues, aging, or lack of transportation for example. I wanted to start a program that would reach out to them and reconnect!

LH: How did you come up with the name “Good Neighbor Network?” Were there any other contenders?  
KT: Our church name was truly the inspiration and I think everyone understands what a network of individuals can accomplish.

LH: Creating a brand new Ministry couldn’t have been easy. What were some challenges you faced throughout the process?  
KT: It took time to research this type of program and how to initiate it. David Young had great ideas and Mary Ann Friedrich, co-chair of GNN, had participated in a similar program at another church.  They were both instrumental in helping me write the Training Guide and hold orientation sessions for our volunteers.

LH: Now that the GNN is up and running (we have 17 volunteers visiting 20 homebound members of our church family!), what have been some of the most rewarding moments you’ve experienced?  
KT: Listening and learning so much from the beautiful men and women who have served our church in the past. They have amazing stories to tell – where they’ve traveled, who their families are and how they’ve progressed on their journeys.  Sitting with Harry Peck and seeing all his WWII albums and uniforms.  Hearing Betty Larsen tell about her travels on a sail boat.  It’s been incredible!

LH: Tell me a little bit about how the Prayer Network came to be incorporated into the GNN. 
KT: It seemed like a natural progression.  Engaging our faithful church family in prayer for one another.  It follows the model of a good network – a variety of individuals, good communication and a connection to one another.

God promises us in the Bible that he hears every word that we pray to him. Like a good parent, he is waiting, ready, and willing to listen
— Karen on the value of prayer

LH: And what exactly is the Prayer Network?
KT: When someone is suffering, anxious, worried, going through a difficult time in their lives or thankful, joyful and they need to seek comfort, make a request, ask for guidance, heal and restore, express sorrow, celebrate joy or give thanks – they look to God through prayer.  They can submit a prayer request with as much or as little information as they wish, and it will be passed along to all the volunteers in our Prayer Network. Everyone will pray that the request will be answered. 

LH: In such a busy world with so much going on, what is the value of prayer? 
KT: I believe it is a vital part of our faith.  God promises us in the Bible that he hears every word that we pray to him. Like a good parent, he is waiting, ready, and willing to listen to our worries, concerns, and needs. Whether we are seeking forgiveness, strength, or healing, prayer provides the channel to communicate with God.  I believe praying daily as a group creates a spiritual bond between us that strengthens our convictions and love for one another.   I love the quote from Max Lucado, “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference."

LH: If someone has a prayer request, what’s the best way to submit it to the Prayer Network?  
KT: They can call, write or text the church office, one of the ministers or submit a prayer request online.  If possible, it would be great to hear from the requestor if there is some resolution to their request. 

Lauren Hardin