Double the Noise

In a nutshell
Churches in North Bristol have been running ‘Noise’ projects (see Resources to find out more about The Noise) in their community for seven years. For HOPE 08 they decided to kick things up a few gears and get double the volunteers so they could commit to double the amount of projects and cover double the geographical area! They took the HOPE strapline to heart and decided to ‘do more and do it together’ – getting lots of local churches involved.
Who has done it?
Churches in North Bristol
www.soulaction.org – The Noise
How did it work?
Over the May Bank Holiday weekend we ran free kids’ clubs, held banquets for senior citizens, did free car washing, we cleared up gardens and public spaces, scrubbed off graffiti, re-painted walls and re-planted gardens and flower beds. We even had a creative team that painted murals on walls of local school playground.
We spent a lot of time in the run up to the weekend networking and asking local community groups how we could best serve them. We also got in contact with lots of local churches and encouraged more Christians to get involved.
We publicised the weekend by doing a door drop of flyers to 10,000 houses. We also had a website for volunteers to sign up and one for the local community to see what we were planning as well.
Every day we had a free fun afternoon with a BBQ, bouncy castle, cafe and face painting.
This year we had a small team of people praying for healing which was well received by the community. We didn’t make a big deal out of it as we wanted it to be a natural thing so we could meet people where they were at and not scare them.
 
The Outcome
Offering to serve really opens up doors to local community groups and is such a blessing to local residents. It totally changes people’s perceptions of the church when you’re doing something nice for them and not asking for anything in return. This year we managed to reach a whole new estate – Southmede – and they were overwhelmed, saying they’d never seen anything like it before. Churches who got involved for the first time were really positive, too, saying it was amazing to be a part of getting something happening in the community again.
Top tips
  • It was great to get the whole church behind The Noise and not just run it as a youth thing. I would say encourage as many people as possible to get involved as everyone has a part to play.
  • If you’re growing your projects don’t take everything on yourself – get different people leading different areas. Encourage younger people to be leading and overseeing different areas. Take a risk on them.
  • Plan early. In the autumn term start thinking about what you can do next year, get networking and speaking to lots of different community groups and churches to get them on board. It may mean you attend lots of meetings but it will be worth it!
  • If you’ve never done a Noise project before, try and see one in action to help you get a better idea of what it can look like (find project details at www.soulaction.org/thenoise)
  • Make sure what you do isn’t a one weekend ‘hit and run’ – the best projects are ones that can be sustained in some way throughout the year but the Bank Holiday weekend is a great way to raise the profile of the work and get more people involved.
  • If you’re a small church, link up with other churches in the area to make a bigger impact. If you’re part of a big church, try and get smaller churches involved too. Together you can make the biggest Noise!
Lessons learned
  • The more you take on, the more efficient your administrators need to be! There’s a lot of preparation work needed to make a Noise weekend happen.
  • Be aware that not all your volunteers are likely to turn up – don’t over commit to projects and have a back-up plan for if lots of people don’t show. Likewise think about what you can do if people finish their projects early – get them prayer-walking around the area for example.
  • You can’t really depend on the good old UK weather so you need to be flexible! Try and think of good projects that aren’t reliant on dry/sunny days.