Item description for Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith) by Joseph R. Myers...
Overview The bestselling author of "The Search to Belong" addresses the forced dynamics of artificial small groups that churches seem too focused on developing and helps leaders create more natural congregational community environments.
Publishers Description Community is a fundamental life search and one of the key aspects people look for in a congregation. But community can't be forced, controlled, or easily created. The problem, says Joseph R. Myers, is that churches are too focused on developing programs instead of concentrating on environments where community will spontaneously emerge. "Organic Community" challenges key leaders to become environmentalists--people who create or shape environments. Outlining nine organizational tools for creating a healthy environment, Myers shows readers how to diagnose their current situation and implement patterns that will develop possibilities for healthy communities.
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Studio: Baker Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 0.52 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2007
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0801065984 ISBN13 9780801065989
Availability 0 units.
More About Joseph R. Myers
Joseph R. Myers is an entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and owner of FrontPorch, a consulting firm that helps churches, businesses, and other organizations promote and develop community. Author of The Search to Belong, Myers is also a founding partner of the communications arts group settingPace, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Reviews - What do customers think about Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith)?
Organic? Yes. Useful? Maybe. Dec 8, 2009
This book might or might not be useful to readers. Having complained in a recent review that another practical theology book was far too programmatic, I was refreshed to perceive the anti-prescriptive bias of Organic Community (by the way, the title of the book has nothing to do with growing fruits and vegetables or hemp, etc.).
Myers relies heavily on antonyms and antithetical word pairs to convey his ideas. One example is the pair of cooperation and collaboration, which he views as describing a prescriptive plan on one hand (cooperation) and organic participation on the other (collaboration).
I could only give the book two stars because I don't think there's much new and interesting material here. Many readers no doubt will have heard the mantra already. Yes, our society is postmodern. No one likes rules and plans and programs anymore. We have rejected most top-down models in favor of bottom-up experiential ones. Statements like these have been made repeatedly by the vanguards of postmodern Christianity and church. Additionally, I was surprised by the business-like feel of the book.
What is valuable in Organic Community, I believe, is some keen analysis of wording and models of leadership/social interaction. I think that all readers can carry such analyses forward to understand and to participate in their various church settings amidst shifting cultural and social conditions.
For those who are interested in this book but uncertain, I would like to recommend two books in the same vein that I found more useful and insightful. The first is Glenn McDonald's The Disciple Making Church: From Dry Bones to Spiritual Vitality and the second is Randy Frazee's The Connecting Church. I hope that my review is helpful to all of you. Do not shy away from reading this book if the topic interests you. Just remember that it is not Gospel - the Gospel transforms, and the best this book can do is to inform.
Excellent Book on Church or Organizational Planning and Leadership Dec 29, 2008
I have read dozens of books on how to do church, but each one seems to assume that if you will only submit to a particular church model and recreate those circumstances, similar success will come. But this is not so. Organic Community helps you to chill out with master planning and begin identifying what God has given you so that a unique church model can naturally arise. Great, great read. Don't agree with everything, but hugely influential to me.
Helpful and Relevant - In some ways... Mar 4, 2008
This book is a follow up to The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups by Myers and asserts itself as a "how-to" manual for various characteristics of a community life of faith. Ten characteristics are addressed and for each a contrast is made between qualities of a master plan and organic order. The characteristics addressed are: organic order, patterns, participation, measurement, growth, power, coordination, partners, language, and resources.
Strengths and Weaknesses One of the great strengths of this book is the emphasis on a community of faith moving forward. Myers recognizes the transitional state of community life and is concerned with movement and avoiding status quo. One of the weaknesses of this book was lack of a clear understanding of the nature and structure of the church. At times, the content seemed quite disconnected from an actual worshipping community.
Relevance to The United Methodist Church (my denomination) I believe that The United Methodist Church has things to learn from this book about the value of transition and movement in congregations. However, there were several clear references to a disregard of several key Methodist ways of life, including the pursuit of Christian perfection and the practice of accountability.
Relevance to The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (my local church) I believe the clearest area of relevance of this book to Resurrection is around the topic of measurement and the transition from gathering the data of numbers and gathering stories to be shared. I think that there is the potential of incredible power and transformation if we were able to more effectively share the many stories of transformation with the congregation and in the community.
Recommendation I tentatively recommend this resource to those interested in a different way of thinking about the practices of church.
Not worth the time. Feb 8, 2008
I understand what Myers is trying to say about community, but he does it in a way that comes across as arrogant and "either/or" when we live in a day of "both/and". Moving from accountabilty to editability. He's forcing it. Organic and master plan can go together well with some relatively easy leadership.
Good Follow Up to The Search to Belong Jan 19, 2008
This book is Myers' attempt to provide practical direction for church leaders seeking to create spaces within their community in which relationships can flourish naturally, unforced, and organically. This book is an excellent follow up to The Search to Belong. The material presented here provides a platform for conversation and thought which could be helpful to any church pondering the health of their environment. Though Myers overstates the case at times concerning the way church programming and organization has been conducted in the past, I consider this book a helpful resource with many ideas that could enable church communities to be more effective in ministry.