February 16, 2023

Good Neighbor Experiment

Applications due: The next nationwide cohort begins in January 2024.

The Good Neighbor Experiment (GNE) is a cohort-based learning process for congregations who wish to engage their community as neighbors. GNE is rooted in the practices of Asset-Based Community Development and the Christian Faith. The material has been used in congregations since 2017 and the Neighboring Movement team has refined the material with each cohort led. The process includes a 4 week worship series, online events with other participating churches from across the country, 3 action-based “Labs” of small group materials you do with your own congregation (each 5 weeks long) and congregational coaching for churches; all occurring over a 4 month period.

The Health Fund is excited to partner with and the Lilly Endowment to offer Great Plains United Methodist Churches a special opportunity for current or new signup Healthy Congregations (HC) teams to participate in the The Good Neighbor Experiment (GNE) at no cost. Not a Great Plains United Methodist Church? You are still welcome participate in GNE – please visit to learn more.

To get started, please fill out the below interest form. There is no obligation – staff will reach out to you to guide next steps and answer questions. To learn more about GNE first, please visit the GNE website. Questions? Please email or

Good Neighbor Experiment Interest Form

Good Neighbor Experiment Healthy Congregations Special Opportunity Interest Form

Not with a Kansas or Nebraska (Great Plains Conference) United Methodist Church? You can still participate in GNE - please visit
Address *
(pastor, staff, volunteer, outreach team leader, etc.)
My church's Healthy Congregations participation *
GNE is available at no cost to current and new-signup Healthy Congregations teams. Not already in Healthy Congregations? You can sign up and gain access to benefits of participation, including this and other special opportunities supporting congregational and community health ministry. We'll reach out to answer any questions and help guide you along the way.
Check this list of participating Healthy Congregations and select your church if it is listed. If you don't see your church, don't worry - complete the below and we'll follow up with you.
In which cohort is your church interested in participating?
(Optional) add any comments, notes, or questions you'd like us to see.

More about the Good Neighbor Experiment:

Who is it for?

GNE was created for local congregations of Christian churches. It is done best when 4-12 people from a church are willing to commit to the full scope of the training, including attending all the online kickoff events and personally participating in all 15 weeks of the small group curriculum.

NOT a church growth program

While some congregations do experience numerical growth, GNE is not intended to increase attendance on Sunday mornings or financial contributions. Instead, GNE is meant to create renewed vitality and to help the congregation become more deeply embedded within its community. GNE is for churches that are tired of creating programs that nobody wants to come to. Many of us have been taught that you can only engage your neighbor through evangelism or by providing a service to them; GNE offers another option. Throughout the experiment, churches are invited to move from scarcity to abundance and to see their role shift from service provider to community connector.

How do you participate?

GNE offers two ways to participate in a cohort:

  • Nationwide cohort: The Neighboring Movement staff leads two cohorts a year that will usually start in April and July.
  • Local facilitator/coach: If you would like to become a neighboring coach for local congregations near you as they participate in GNE and beyond, please contact

Curriculum and Continuation

Learn more about the GNE curriculum and alumni program on their website.

Cost and Commitments

Responsibility for Churches

  • Financial Costs: Great Plains Conference (UMC) church participation is covered at no cost. For other congregations, cohorts cost $1000 per church, though some local or regional conferences or organizations may provide financial support, depending on the area.
  • People Power: Churches are asked to form a team with a minimum of 4 lay people and 1 church staff person who are committed to attending every workshop and doing all 15 weeks of the small group curriculum.

Responsibilities of Individuals

  • Action Ready: GNE only works if the church is committed to actually engaging their neighbors. All participants should have the expectation of meeting their actual neighbors, both where they live and in the neighborhood of the church.
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