The Connecting Church: Beyond Small Groups to Authentic Community

Randy Frazee, Author, Dallas Willard, Foreword by Zondervan $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-310-23308-4
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.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Religion
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