Whatever name you use in your part of the country . . . Barbecue, Cookout, BBQ, Pork Roast, Pig Pickin’ . . . it’s a way to build bridges of friendship with your neighbors this summer! Here’s one simple plan that you can follow to spread out the work, cover all the details, and enjoy a great time together!
A week before
- Talk enthusiastically to a few key neighbors and enlist their support.
- Take a flyer to each person on your block. (See sample below.) Be sure to spend time greeting each neighbor; introduce yourself to any neighbors who do not know you (or who might not remember your name).
- Ask several neighbors close to you if they can provide grills and grilling utensils for this event. If you do not have a table to put food on, ask a neighbor if they have one you can use. Card tables work!
- Buy sodas/lemonade/iced tea/juice/water bottles, etc., for more people than you think will come. (Choose varieties that you will use if there are leftovers.)
- Buy paper goods (plates, cups, napkins, forks, knives).
- Buy mayonnaise, mustard, catsup, and relish.
- Buy nametags (very important)!
The day of
- Set up the grills and light them so they are ready by your start time.
- Set up food tables, a jar to collect $2 from each person, name tags and markers, condiments, and paper goods.
- Buy ice and put all drinks in a bucket with ice and water.
- Set out a ping-pong table, bocce ball, bubbles, or other games for kids.
During the cookout
- Give everyone a name tag; encourage them to include their address under their name. Or, have everyone write their name in the center and in the four corners, write (1) the name of the town where they were born, (2) their occupation, (3) a hobby, and (4) a childhood hero. Great conversation starters!
- After everyone arrives, ask each to introduce him or herself and say how long they’ve lived in the neighborhood. During dessert, ask everyone to respond to a simple, non-threatening question that each person can answer. (Let them know that they can "pass" if they are uncomfortable responding.) Here are some good options:
- What do you appreciate about living in this country? (Good for July 4th)
- What is the most unusual (or first, or fun, or hard) job you've ever had? (Good for Labor Day)
Sample flyer - Click to view
Download Word template
and adjust for your cookout!
Frankly, if we can do this, anyone can! We are not party people!
But don't forget to cover this event in prayer,
asking God to use the time as an opening to deepen relationships.
– Bill & Fran Goodrich