This is a review of Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect by Joseph R. Myers. It is a resource from Emersion: a partnership between Emergent Village and Baker Books.
This book is a follow up to The Search to Belong by Myers and asserts itself as a “how-to” manual for various characteristics of a community life of faith. Ten characteristics are addressed and for each a contrast is made between qualities of a master plan and organic order. The characteristics addressed are: organic order, patterns, participation, measurement, growth, power, coordination, partners, language, and resources.
Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the great strengths of this book is the emphasis on a community of faith moving forward. Myers recognizes the transitional state of community life and is concerned with movement and avoiding status quo. One of the weaknesses of this book was lack of a clear understanding of the nature and structure of the church. At times, the content seemed quite disconnected from an actual worshipping community.
Relevance to The United Methodist Church
I believe that The United Methodist Church has things to learn from this book about the value of transition and movement in congregations. However, there were several clear references to a disregard of several key Methodist ways of life, including the pursuit of Christian perfection and the practice of accountability.
Relevance to The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
I believe the clearest area of relevance of this book to Resurrection is around the topic of measurement and the transition from gathering the data of numbers and gathering stories to be shared. I think that there is the potential of incredible power and transformation if we were able to more effectively share the many stories of transformation with the congregation and in the community.
I tentatively recommend this resource to those interested in a different way of thinking about the practices of church.