Top 5 Books I Read in 2004 (#5)

Matt Mitchell, the administrator of the yahoo forum for the Evangelical Free Church Allegheny District, asks each year for ministry-related book reviews to be posted. I offered the top 5 books I’ve read in 2005.

Here on the blog, I will do a countdown of those top 5.

At Number 5...
The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community, and Small Groups
by Joseph R. Myers

For those of us who have been banging our heads against the wall trying to figure out how to get small groups to work, this book is a breath of fresh air.

Myers contends that there are actually four "Spaces of Belonging": Public, Social, Personal, and Intimate. He says it is wrong to try to force people into Personal and Intimate relationships, that these must arise out a process of friendship-building and individual choice. And we do people a disservice in churches when we place too much pressure on these two and do not legitimatize the first two as important as well.

He recommends we see our pastoral ministry as creating "environments" in which people will feel that they belong 100% in Public Space and Social Space and in which people can choose for themselves with whom they want to enter into "Private" and "Intimate" relationships.



c said...


This book was super helpful for me as well. I read it last year and just thought everyone needed to be in a small group to grow spiritually as well as communally. Also, I never thought of different people growing closer to God in different ways, such as intimate, public and so forth. Myers is coming out with another book soon, I believe. Anyway, nice blog Bob.

Bill Arnold said...

I think I'll forward your review to my current senior pastor. He wants to focus more on community, but he's not sure how.

I think I already mentioned this book to him, but he didn't listen to me. Oh, the folly of older folks! ;-)

Bob Robinson said...

Hey, watch it!
I'm no spring chicken anymore...

dave paisley said...

Wow, even the quick review tells me this is something I need to read. I've seen too many enforced small group efforts that failed miserably. Thanks for the tip :)