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Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith) Paperback – May 1, 2007


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Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith) + The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups
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Product Details

  • Series: emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801065984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801065989
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Shaping environments where community emerges naturally

Can you really create community through master plans and elaborate strategies? Sometimes, says Joseph Myers--but more often, lasting authentic connections occur organically within healthy environments. Organic Community offers you practical guidance for helping your church or organization create spaces where community naturally comes into being.

"Once again, Myers hits a home run. Organic Community calls us all--church and congregants alike--to honesty about our goals and then offers us sophisticated, efficacious, and grace-filled ways to realize them."--Phyllis Tickle, contributing editor in religion, Publishers Weekly

"Looking back on twenty-four years of church planting and pastoral ministry, I wish I had thoroughly digested Organic Community before I got started. It would have saved so much wasted energy--mine, and those whose lives I foolishly tried to 'master plan.' This is a book I will reread and widely recommend."--Brian McLaren, author, activist; brianmclaren.net

"If a classic is something that has never finished what it has to say, then this little gem is a 'classic.'"--Leonard Sweet, E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism, Drew Theological School; distinguished visiting professor, George Fox University; www.wikiletics.com

"Myers acknowledges that his is a different kind of how-to book. As much, or more, it is a how-not-to book that exposes fallacies inherent in common organizational policies and procedures, which are all the more destructive in organizations relying on volunteer efforts."--Ray Oldenburg, emeritus professor of sociology, the University of West Florida; author, The Great Good Place


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 communication arts group settingPace, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

About the Author

Joseph R. Myers is an entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and owner of Front Porch, 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 setting Pace, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

More About the Author

Joseph R. Myers is a multiprenuer, interventionist, and thinker. He is a founding partner of a communication arts group, SETTINGPACE, and owns a consulting firm, FrontPorch, which specializes in creating conversations that promote and develop community.

Customer Reviews

Joe's first book changed the way I look at community and how people belong in my community.
Todd Hiestand
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.
Doulos Theou
Much of the time he simply describes things in abstraction, and you really have no way to grasp what he is saying.
Jim Stewart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Randall G. Neighbour on May 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
While I was intrigued by what Myers wrote in his first book (The Search to Belong) I had some bones to pick with him about assumptions he made about small group-based churches and how people relate to one another in those churches.

However, Myers really hits the nail on the head in this second book and I can see he's grown as a writer.

His comments on why people get involved in a church and small group are fascinating and insightful. While I would have liked to see more sources sited for his comments in this area, I believe he's dead-on with what he wrote.

I did not give the book five stars for one simple reason. In a some chapters, he gives excellent practical application for the chapter's content. However, in other chapters, he provides nothing and for that reason, those chapters left me wanting.

I also enjoyed Myers frank and to-the-point writing style and the fact that the book was a page turner that I read in one sitting. This book has some deep content within, but is not a hard read...which should make it a stronger selling book. Joe, you've done a good job of keeping all the cookies on the lower shelf for readers like me and I appreciate it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Doulos Theou on December 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
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
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Heather Zempel on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
You know a book is going to be good when you find yourself underlining stuff in the forward. After reading "Search to Belong" and "Organic Community," I think I would be willing to plop down money for just about anything that Joseph Myers writes. Like most of my favorite authors, he drives me crazy. I tried really hard to not like him. I wanted to brand him as anti-small groups. I tried to zoom in and focus only on the areas where I disagreed with him. But I just can't. Joseph is writing from lots of a experience and from a heart that truly desires to see people grow in real, authentic community. Anyone who works with small groups, discipleship, or community needs to read this book. Like me, you may find yourself disagreeing with certain things or getting defensive, but you still need to wrestle with it.

"Organic Community" challenges us to create environments where true Biblical community can flourish. It is not a step-by-step master plan or some new model for ministry. Rather, Joseph presents nine ideas that we need to consider when designing community experiences that allow community to "emerge" instead of being fabricated. He gives principles for going green and becoming an environmentalist instead of a master planner. I found two chapters particularly helpful. The chapter on "Patterns" helps the reader identify how and why people connect. The chapter on "Partners" challenges our ideas about accountability and encourages a new approach of editability. I have lots of good, constructive questions after reading this book. For instance, what are we measuring and why? Are we measuring the right things? What are we really trying to accomplish in the small group environment?

"Organic Community" is easy to read, and the tone is straightforward.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hiestand on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Joe's first book changed the way I look at community and how people belong in my community.

Joe's second book continued to help me do that by giving some very helpful, effective and "common sense" approaches to leadership of this kind of community.

I have found that many pastors who read Joe's books find themselves uncomfortable with the ideas he presents. But, I have found that many "lay people" (for lack of better word) read his stuff and say, "yeah, duh. isn't that the way its supposed to be" or "man, I wish I could find a church that gave me the freedom to live like this."

The ideas and thoughts he writes about often made me say "duh, why have i never realized that." And you truly let them sink in and try take them seriously you realize they can radically change the way you look at not only Church but life in general.

A theme that I have found resonates through each book is that we leaders need to have more trust in the people in our communities. And just because they don't fit in our models of what a correct participant in our communities looks like, doesn't mean they are not living faithfully and compassionately as followers of Jesus...

I'd recommend this book to anyone... in fact, I already have to a bunch of people and pastors.
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