This book explores the three essential elements of real community and helps readers put into practice the fifteen principles that undergird those essentials.
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.