Although this book has some redeeming factors as a person who experienced abuse from a church that used small groups extensively I can tell you there are many pit falls. Inexperience of group leaders, lack of biblical knowledge of the leaders combined with many people giving their opinion of what the Bible passage says combine to perpetuate wrong doctrine and many errors in practice.
Many churches who use the small group model do so at the expense of the unity of the church as a whole. Most people only know the people in their small little group and because of this it limits what many of the churches do. Many rely on the small groups for letting financial and prayer needs known and those whose lives are too busy for meeting at that particular time never have their needs met.
Instead of fracturing our churches into small groups and having such mega churches we would be better off with the smaller community church model that was present more than 100 years ago. The community was more than just a few blocks big and there was a fellowship of the entire body of believers in the church rather than small disconnected pods.
This type of "community" with its written and unwritten social expectations has left a wake of hurting and devastation and I am one of them. My experience with this type of over controlling mindset meaded out through smaller groups under a central leadership happened in the mid 1980's. There is now another church in our area using the same tactics that is doing the same thing including children in their teens not to mention numerous college aged students who are filling up the offices of the already over worked therapists.
Please re-consider using these strategies in your church. Although there is a place for smaller groups within a larger church using this model as is proposed in this book is very dangerous.
WE are reading this as part of a church planting group and so far we have only finished the 4th chapter but it is a great book. It gets to the heart of what is going on in most churches and communities and with that gets to the Word of how to get back!!! Great book!
My evaluation of this book is a little over the top for some. After having been in pastoral ministry for over 40 years, I think this is one of the most important books that has been written for the church in the last 50 years! With incisive clarity, Frazee identifies the two forces that drive our North American culture: individualism and consumerism. These forces militate against true biblical community which is, by way of contrast, radically corporate and sacrificial. He then identifies three important marks of authentic biblical community: A common purpose, a common place, and common possessions. The goal is clear, and it will take nothing less than death and resurrection to get there! This has incredible implications for the missional church conversation, because this quality of love will woo the world to Jesus.
Frazee writes on a subject many in the church are struggling with; the need to belong. In The Connecting Church, you are given the story of how Patego Bible Church in Texas made the switch from what many would call traditional small group ministry to an intergenerational ministry built on local neighborhoods. It's a great concept and I can't wait to visit his church soon to see just how this plays out in Frazee's home church.I've long felt that we are too segregated in our own churches and that this leads to many of the conflicts we see. The "intergenerational" approach Frazee takes is one I think is right and practical.I've ordered his Christian Life Assessment tool to use in my own church. The tool is based on the principles in this book.
I believe this can be the answer to the rat race society that we find ourselves in . This also answers alot of questions that I wanted to know about why small groups never really achieve total true intimacy.