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The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups (EmergentYS) [Paperback]

By Joseph R. Myers (Author), Renee N. Altson (Author) & Ivy Beckwith (Author)
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Item description for The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups (EmergentYS) by Joseph R. Myers, Renee N. Altson & Ivy Beckwith...

Community is a fundamental life search. We need to belong. In our time, we search with some increasing desperation as terms like neighbor, family, and congregation are being redefined.

Publishers Description
A practical guide for those struggling to build a community of believers in a culture that wants to experience belonging over believing Who is my neighbor? Who belongs to me? To whom do I belong? These are timeless questions that guide the church to its fundamental calling. Today terms like neighbor, family, and congregation are being redefined. People are searching to belong in new places and experiences. The church needs to adapt its interpretations, definitions, and language to make sense in the changing culture. This book equips congregations and church leaders with tools to: * Discern the key ingredients people look for in community * Understand the use of space as a key element for experiencing belonging and community * Develop the chemical compound that produces an environment for community to spontaneously emerge * Discover how language promotes specific spatial belonging and then use this knowledge to build an effective vocabulary for community development * Create an assessment tool for evaluating organizational and personal community health"

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups (EmergentYS) by Joseph R. Myers, Renee N. Altson & Ivy Beckwith has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Books & Culture - 03/01/2012 page 22

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan/Youth Specialties
Pages   181
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 16, 2003
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
Series  EmergentYS  
ISBN  0310255007  
ISBN13  9780310255000  
UPC  025986255008  

Availability  92 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 04:58.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Joseph R. Myers, Renee N. Altson & Ivy Beckwith

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

Joseph R. Myers was born in 1962.

Joseph R. Myers has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Emergent Ys (Paperback)
  2. Emersion: Emergent Village Resources for Communities of Faith

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Administration
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Youth Ministry

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church Administration
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Emerging Church

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Reviews - What do customers think about Search To Belong?

a new framework for talking about belonging  Nov 24, 2006
Myers exposes the unhelpful and unhealthy trend of championing intimacy and close friendship as the (1) end-all,be-all for every relationship and (2) the means for establishing community/belonging, and suggests that a more healthy view of belonging lies in (1) realizing the validity of public and social relationships/belonging, (2) and thereafter seeking harmony between public, social, personal, and intimate belonging. Pu8S4P2I is a succinct and witty rendering (in chemical formula vocabulary) of a healthy, harmonious balance of relationship in the 4 spheres of relational space.

ch1 DECONSTRUCTION of common formulas for belonging (ex: time=belonging, committment =belonging, common purpose = belonging, etc...). Formulas discovered to be too simplistic.

ch2 ASKS THE QUESTION "what does it mean to belong" and begins to explore the role of language in asking and answering.

ch3 INTRODUCES Myers appropriation of Edward T. Halls' 4 spaces of human interaction (public, social, personal, and intimate) for belonging. Myers describes (vs defines) belonging in each context with well chosen anecdotes and emphasizes that we connect, we participate, and we find our connecting significant in ALL 4 SPACES.

ch4 explores (1) the COMPETENCIES individuals must possess in order to connect in each space (2) the ROLE of "group leader" in facilitating belonging (3) asks the question HOW DO WE MEASURE BELONGING?

ch5 discusses HOW RELATIONSHIPS MOVE through different spatial realms at different times in life.

ch6 explores the concept of FRONT PORCHES, and begins the conversation of how to facilitate public and social belonging in our day and age.

ch7 is a CASE STUDY on how to integrate the concepts of this book into congregational life.

As Myers states in the intro, this book is part self-help (in the best sense) - in that it provides a framework for individuals to understand what healthy belonging looks like for an individual, and part church-help - in that it provokes good questions for every congregational equipper: Who is my neighbor? What does it mean to belong? How can I aid others in their search to belong? What is the correct language to use in asking and answering these questions?

I found Myers thoughts to be provocative and insightful. For both the church leader and individual alike i would recommend it. For the church leader it raises such questions as Is church membership relevant for today? What does it mean to belong to my church? How doe we communicate that belonging? Is it apostasy to wonder if my relationship with God is not always meant to be personal?

Though I don't agree wholeheartedly with all of Meyers' reflections, I give this book a 5 because its asking the perceptive, provocative questions, and does it in an easy-to-digest format. It is both quick (many stories) and short (154 pages - with many illustrations and low text/page ratio) and best read in conversation with others.
Small Groups Pastor's Perspective  Mar 15, 2006
This book has given meaning and a new understanding to what I experienced in my neighborhood as a child. On summer nights, people lounged the remainder of their day away on their front porches. Others who were taking a walk would stop and linger for conversation. Conversations tended to be light hearted, but sometimes burdens were shared. I loved my neighborhood because I belonged to it. Certain adults knew my name- or at least who I belonged to: "your Bob Klug's son". They talked to me like I mattered and told on me because I mattered. After college I returned to the city. I got to know my neighbors again. When my (parked) car was hit by a drunk driver, three of my neighbors hopped in their cars and chased him. Why did these men take such a risk? I made conversation with them on the side walk, but I did not have a deep or personal relationship with any of them. I think the reason these men were willing to pursue the drunk driver was because we belonged to each other. We knew it could be a dangerous world out there, so we watched out for each other. Through the years, my focus became so small group oriented that somehow I lost the importance of "front porch" communities. This book convincingly makes the case that people have a need to belong in "four spaces": 1) public; 2) social; 3) personal and 4) intimate. At the public and social levels, community "belonging" has fewer expectations and is experienced more easily, but not with as much meaning or spiritual benefit. Though people long for deeper community, many are afraid of it at the same time. We need to give people space, a place where they are comfortable connecting. These large group "spaces" are significant to an effective discipleship strategy when they serve to lead people into "one another" relationships. Jesus had His "Sons of Thunder", twelve, "followers", parties and the multitude. Yet it is clear to me that His focus was on a small group of men... Once people have a sense of belonging to our church, it is more likely that they will walk with us into deeper levels of community. We need to let them taste the sweetness of biblical community. If we keep them connected, with well laid plans and by the power of God we can lead more people to a small group.
Fascinating - not perfect, but a great book  Jan 29, 2006
(Note: Score should read 5 stars. For some reason it got entered as 3 and can't be edited.)

I've had this book for a year and finally got around to reading it. Myers manages to provide a framework for defining belonging in a way that makes complete and utter sense.

Small groups can be tremendous places for personal growth and the development of relationships - but only with the right people and in the right circumstances. The drive to small group uber-intimacy at any cost in churches has been a tremendously damaging one, and this book helps to explain why. If 100,000 fans at a football game can have a great time and feel connected without knowing a single other soul there, why should that not be the case for church?

Actually, the delineation of the social and personal dimensions is more important for church, as these are the levels most people need and are looking for, but which small group fiends despise the most.

Myers does lose the plot a bit with his "front porch" obsession and his totally inaccurate portrayal of the development of the US car industry post WW2 and it's being supplanted by the Japanese. That whole story comes out of left field and is poorly thought out, but I can forgive him that because the book ends very strongly with a very relevant case study.

One last thought - the goal of most church small group ministries is to create (but a better approach would be to facilitate) and intimate relationship with God. But having an intimate relationship with God does not mean that one has to have an intimate relationship with a bunch of other people. Trying to force the latter on people is most likely to hinder the former. That is the point that many small group ministries miss. Myers does a great job of exposing the error.
New Way to Think About Relationships  Sep 16, 2005
This book is a definite "should read" on the list of anyone considering how to reach out to build a deeper and more intimate community. It addresses how we validate or invalidate ways for people to belong, even without knowing it. While the book does not provide "the answer", which I appreciate, it does give a whole new prospective with which we can figure out how to address people belonging to our relationships.
Mixed review  Apr 27, 2005
The book begins in dynamite fashion!! You cannot go wrong quoting John Wooden. Quickly you move to a forward by Leonard Sweet, this guy dreams in the brightest shades possible. The beginning chapters up through the 4 types of "space" (Public, Social,Personal, Intimate) are right on the mark. Then it seems like a whole departure is taken rebuilding the whole permise begining at the "chemical" level, through the "front porch" and finally findy harmony. This is very distracting for me and left me hanging terribly. Randy Frazee in "Connecting Chruches" does a much better job of laying out and explaining the connecting principles. I learned alot until page 75 then it was downhill for me

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