I once heard a pastor say that while "community is the one thing contemporary people want, it is also the thing they are least prepared to receive." He went on to discuss how: individualism has divided our communities, ambition has taught us to value competition over cooperation and our schedules leave little time to invest in the lives of our loved ones and the common life of our communities. Randy Frazee's The Connecting Church identifies and develops many of the same themes, which were explored in that intriguing sermon. In The Connecting ChurchFrazee paints a beautiful portrait of biblical community and talks about the sacrifices we will have to make in order to experience life together. If you are ready to move beyond small groups and develop authentic community this book is required reading.
Pastor and consultant Frazee begins with a problem that many church leaders
admit only hesitantly: small groups, widely hailed as a means to achieve
authentic community, often fail to achieve the hoped-for experience of "life
together." This book follows the story of Frazee's congregation, Pantego Bible
Church in suburban Dallas/Ft. Worth, in its efforts to "take [the small group
movement] to the next level." Frazee's proposal is no quick fix; it belies
megachurch stereotypes by taking a countercultural stand against the
individualism and consumerism that Frazee says plague contemporary American
life. Drawing on biblical models as well as sociological research and urban
planning principles, Frazee makes a strong case that the mobility and privacy
of "American Dream" suburbia fosters a spirit of fragmentation and isolation
that is unworkable as a basis for authentic community. Frazee recommends
"consolidating relationships," opting out of multiple activities and
superficial social circles in favor of "a circle of relationships that produces
a sense of genuine belonging." Small groups emerge as a necessary but
insufficient ingredient for attaining Frazee's vision of "biblical community."
The author's fondness for lists and systematization make for a dense read at
times, but the human insights and real-life examples that really drive the book
have a powerful appeal. Given the popularity of small group spirituality, and
its potential discontents, this book should find a wide audience. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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