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The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups Paperback – September 16, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Emergent Ys
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan/Youth Specialties (September 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310255007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310255000
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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

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.

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

I've had this book for a year and finally got around to reading it.
Dave P
If they have yet to learn how to live with respect for their own boundaries, and those of others, this book will start them down that path.
tammy schoch
Joseph Myers' "The Search to Belong" is a timely and refreshing look at what community really is.
Daniel Conklin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Conklin on April 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been to countless seminars and read probably dozens of books on small group ministry. For the past couple of decades, we have consistently heard that the right small group programs will grow our church, create fully-devoted Christ-followers, ease the burden on pastors, return us to New Testament Christianity, etc. I've spoken loudly to that effect myself.
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.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jay Voorhees on September 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
For several years my library has been littered with books describing how small group ministries are the salvation of the church. Any number of authors use anecdotal and biblical evidence to suggest that inimate small groupings are the ideal for the church, and that churches who want to survive and grow need to spend all their energy on small groups.
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.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By R. White on November 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
My family spends a week each year in a quaint old farmhouse with no television. "Quaint" and "TV" don't really fit. I always bring a variety of books just in case one of them ends up being a dud. This year I brought a John Grisham novel (it doesn't matter which one--they're all the same); In Love and War by James and Sybil Stockdale (Jim Collins just mentioned it one too many times); and The Search to Belong by Joseph Myers (which is on Carl George's nightstand).

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.
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