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The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups Paperback – September 16, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
Yet as I have tried to implement them, I've found that either it doesn't work as well as advertised or there must be something wrong with me. Sure, there have been many people helped through small groups, but the small groups have also been accompanied by frustrations. Balancing fellowship-vs-study/accountability is always difficult; many people just aren't ready for that level of intimacy and accountability; and it usually isn't the ideal next-step for newcomers. On the other hand, the relationships built there are often very important to people. But now there's a fresh answer to help make some sense of it all.
Joseph Myers' "The Search to Belong" is a timely and refreshing look at what community really is. He explodes some of the myths of belonging that we have often believed. He helps us see, through research and experience, the four different "spaces" of belonging--public, social, personal, and intimate. What's more, he helps us see the value of each space, how relationships are carried on in each space, and how to balance them. Bottom line, people can feel a substantial level of belonging to a church on many different levels. Understanding people's genuine community needs, and working with it and affirming it will get us a lot farther than trying to fit everyone into the "intimacy" mold.Read more ›
Joe Myers, on the other hand, brings years of church experience and thorough research on the nature of community to suggest that the small group movement in Christendom might not be all that it's cracked up to be. With this book, Myers invites questioning on the assumptions of small group ministries, and renergizes other types of ministries as well.
The core of Myer's work is based on the work of Edward T. Hall, who identified four types of social space: public, social, personal, and intimate. Building on Hall's research on the four spaces, Myers suggests that far too much time and energy has been directed on promoting intimate space as the ideal. Rather, churches need to not equate intimacy with significance. Thus, perhaps more efforts need to be directed at appreciating the value of public space, and promoting opportunities for social and personal space.
Focusing on the need for social space, Myers suggests that the loss of the front porch in American society (a primary mediator of social space) has been appropriated and devalued by the church. Myers argues for reclaiming the front porch mentality, which he sees behind the success of Starbucks and other gathering oriented businesses.
However, Myers doesn't only deal with theory. The book is written in a personal, narrative style filled with anecdotes and examples of what Myers is trying to say.Read more ›
Joe Myers' book was the first book of the week. I enjoyed his writing style, well, until I actually began to pay attention to what he was saying. Then, it just made me mad. In mid-paragraph I would stop reading to myself and begin to read the book aloud to my wife. "Listen to this guy: Joe Myers says, 'A church of small groups? Sounded like forced relational hell to me'" (page 10).
"Exactly," my wife responded.
"You, you can't say that. I'm the Small Groups Pastor. You can't say that." This was a matter of job security. The last thing I needed was bad P.R. from my co-leader and spouse.
I continued to read much like I watch Christian television or slow to see the wreckage of a car accident. With each page turn I anticipated that this guy would finally hang himself. What exactly was he getting at? What was his agenda? Did he envision the church as some sort of YMCA-like gathering place where belonging overshadowed belief?
The more I read, the more irritated I became. Jesus didn't commission us to go into the world and connect people. Yet, Joe Myers so much as invalidated "fully-devoted followers." What about Acts 2:42?!!
Just as I was about to write Joe off as one more neo- orthodox, emergent guru, something began to resonate in my thinking.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Myers has put together an interesting and compelling look at what drives us to belong and the observation that each person joins differently. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alvin C. Johnson, Jr.
This book is an effort to help people connect with their families, congregations, and with the Lord. Read more
Thought provoking. Myers challenges our long-standing views of belonging and the implications it has on our relational access to others. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ron Larson
This book was just what I needed. I'd been praying about small groups and reading in the Scriptures in Acts. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Clark Frailey
This book borrows from Edward T. Hall's study of proxemics to provide a very helpful lens for classifying different levels of relationship. Read morePublished 14 months ago by B Rupert
Book was great. It really goes into the public, social, private, and intimate spaces that our lives are around. Enjoyed some of the stories illistrating that.Published 23 months ago by J Spalding
Interesting insights on small groups and how to communicate life one to another in various styles of gathering together with those of like kindPublished on October 22, 2013 by Melonie Mangum
I read this book the other week as a (Dutch) pastor desiring to deepen discipleship, fellowship and spiritual life among my (Chinese) congregation. Read morePublished on January 18, 2013 by Hans Wulffraat