Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect
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. Written in personable fashion and with highly informed common sense, 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
"Most people think 'deep' and 'practical' can't go together, as if being practical meant being shallow. Joe Myers brings the two together as well as anyone I've ever read. 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.' Beneath its simplicity and practicality lie real depth, and from its depth will flow creative, practical action that will make a difference for years to come. This is a book I will reread and widely recommend."--Brian McLaren, author/activist; brianmclaren.net
"Helen of Troy may have had the face that launched a thousand ships, but Joe Myers has the furnishings of thought and design that will launch a thousand books, blogs, and briefs on growing 'organic community.' 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
"Anyone seeking to mobilize people to collective and cooperative effort or to promote organizational growth will find Joseph Myers's Organic Community an invaluable resource. Whether educated about organizational systems or merely experiencing them in schools, sports, the military, work settings, or voluntary associations, we have all gotten used to and accepted many wrongheaded assumptions that run contrary to the organization's goals.
"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.
"Myers offers nine tools, not 'steps,' the more of which one masters the more results are achieved. Application of even a few of these tools promises substantial improvement.
"The book comes out of a small groups perspective and is aimed primarily at churches, but the principles set forth have application in organizations of all kinds."--Ray Oldenburg, emeritus professor of sociology, The University of West Florida; author, The Great Good Place
"Organic Community is packed with practical wisdom and experience about creating church communities. At a time when many pastors and church leaders flock to the latest models and methods for church growth, Joe Myers asks us to abandon master plans and new programs and, instead, concentrate on shaping social environments where people can thrive and grow and genuinely participate and where community can emerge naturally. This book isn't a manual for church growth; it's more of an invitation to an adventure--with masses of useful advice and guidance for those who take up the challenge. I'd make it required reading for all church leaders."--Dave Tomlinson, vicar,St. Luke's Church, West Holloway, in North London; author, The Post-Evangelical and Still Waters and Skyscrapers
"Joe has captured the essence of what it means for the church to be primarily an organism rather than an organization. She is in flux, constantly moving and growing beyond the limitations of the blueprints of a stale, innate object. This book is a 'must read'' for preachers and church leaders whose overwhelming desire is to grow a church in the way God desires."--James D. Harless, senior minister, Tri-County Christian Church
"Joe Myers once again challenges people serving through the church to rethink the way people enter community. While providing nine practical tools for assisting people to enter community, there is no linear or formulaic structure, no promise of a 'this is the silver bullet' for ministry. Organic Community lives up to its name as it forces readers to reconsider master plan strategy, which rarely worked anyway, in favor of organic order as a means for people seeking community. The nine tools will cause cognitive dissonance for many folks who formerly accepted master plan tools for helping people find community. Such dissonance is valuable even if you don't agree with the tools or the foundation from which Myers constructs organic order. We here at Southland Christian Church are finding many of the concepts Myers uses helpful in our own journey to community. This book will become a 'must read' for our people, as is The Search to Belong."--Myron D. Williams, study minister, Southland Christian Church
"Here is a refreshing look not only at church but also other human institutions in which people connect. It represents a move away from hierarchical and mechanistic institutions in which people are pigeon-holed, to a more relational and organic model in which people can realize their full creative potential within a network of supportive relationships. This approach is especially significant for the church, because institutional models are cumbersome and expensive to reproduce. Organic models of faith--communities, on the other hand, are reproducible and allow for exponential growth. We need many more fresh expressions of church to reach future generations for Christ."--Eddie Gibbs, Fuller Theological Seminary