Organic Community by Joe Myers

orgcommcover.jpg For the next few weeks I will be posting reviews of individual chapters in Joe Myers great book, Organic Community. As the title of this book suggests growth within organizations happens best organically, following the natural patterns of human relationships. This is nowhere more true than within the local church. The temptation among pastors, including myself, is to progam community, manufacturing intimacy through the latest curriculum or outreach idea. Myers counters this by directing his reader to remember the following:

“It would do us well to remember that our job is to help people with their lives rather than build infrastructures that help keep institutions alive.” (pg. 27)

Under the pressure to make our institutions viable and bring our visions to fruition we easily forget the impulses that motivated such visions and institutions in the first place. Building community probably can’t happen when we try to create it. Like falling asleep, an analogy that Myers uses, community happens in the right environment and under the right conditions.

Moving from the mode of master planner to environmentalist is the first big shift one must undergo to contribute to the organic creation of community. This is the thrust of chapter one, Organic Order, where I will begin in the next post.


5 thoughts on “Organic Community by Joe Myers

  1. “It would do us well to remember that our job is to help people with their lives rather than build infrastructures that help keep institutions alive.”

    Wow – that’s good, I like that, I really like that!

  2. that is good (the quote above). it almost takes the pressure down a notch for those “professional” christians. instead of worrying about what the church looks like from the outside we can focus on the relationships within. instead of anticipating what needs will be and building programs to suit those – we just meet the needs that are there.

    thanks for making fun of me blogging WHILE i am commenting on your blog!! love you anyway and always.

  3. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘oh no here she is again!” Oh well here I go again. I’ve been part of institutions that have helped shape my vision for mission. Yes at first it was very scripted and planned out; go build the chruch, say the right things then invite them to church then go home. That worked for me no problem, i think. As I matured in age and in my faith in Jesus I realized that I could share HIM at the store, park or at Amarillo Grill and develop a relationship because I’m a people person.

    Today I still share Jesus – with bubble gum at the public school cuz I can’t share there with a bible, prayer or pamplet like I can at CCA. So is that the difference when you mean environmentalist? Depending on the environment will depend how you share Jesus? Mr. Chief ministers to people at Wal-mart he just listens to an old school friend who is going through hell right now and he has invited them to church. The enviornment was Wal-mart the missional part was David’s time. Was the organic part being authentic, real and caring and helpful? Am I on the right track? Or am I totally am I enviroMENTALLY way off?

  4. I’ll talk about what being an “environmentalist” means in the next post. But, to give a bit of a hint: developing community is something that isn’t done directly. Kind of like romance, you can’t force romance (if you do it is called something else entirely) but you can create the environment within which it can thrive. More on that later.

    QP…what your describing is another very important idea. I sometimes call it contextualization. If I were to go to Spain with the goal of doing evangelism I would need to learn the language and understand the culture. Comprehend their “context”. The same is true within the smaller cultures of our city. The public school culture, our work environments, etc. Your working with a very important idea.

  5. So if a person creates an environment of candles, wine and great food for his/her spouse that could possibly create an environment for romance to be experience right? But what if that type of setting or envvironment fails? What if sitting outside, holding hands enjoying the cool breeze and star gazing is the environment needed for the recipient to experience romance? Needs and desires are different how does this work out?

    I can almost grasp it I like how you stated “you can’t force romance” I understand it but there is more to this. It’s like there is a foundation…like the fruit of the Spirit I believe. Is that the setting? Paul I need to understand this…sometimes it frustates me because the more I think I know – the more I realize I don’t know.

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