No doubt… as Americans, we live in an individualistic society. We live in a country where we are encouraged to believe: “What’s in it for me?” or “What about me?” Living in a nation and in communities with this mindset can be a very lonely experience. Yet people also need to belong; they need to feel connected to one another. How does someone balance the world they live in with the human need to feel connected with one another?
In The Connecting Church 2.0, pastor and author Randy Frazee sets out to help those feeling lonely and disconnected discover a rich sense of community. Both the secular and Christian communities understand that belonging is an essential need of people. We certainly saw this in the early church as you read through the book of Acts. What was the church if it wasn’t a community of believers? How do we, in a post-modern culture in the 21st Century, get the community that early believers experienced? Frazee contends this is still accomplished through the church. The mission of the church continues to have community built into the model. God intends church to be the very hub of our lives and community. Yet in the 21st Century this is not an easy task (I guess it never has been) for the church. Frazee states:
“The church of the 21st Century must do more than add yet another relational world to an already overbooked society; it must develop new structures that help people simplify their lives and develop more meaning, depth, and purpose in their experience of community.” p. 32
This book focuses on the mission of small groups, but Frazee realizes that it is best if the entire church is involved in this restructuring. He also notes for those who embark on becoming a connecting church will need to commit to sacrifices to fully experience what God intended and create us to have in community.
Connecting Church 2.0, releasing March 12, 2013, is a revised edition. The first edition came out ten years ago. The current edition is structured into four sections. In part 1, Connecting to a Common Purpose, Frazee explores individualism and why it is a problem, how it has infiltrated the church and the Biblical foundations and purposes of community. A notable quote from this section is Frazee’s observation that in many churches,”church today is not a community, it is a collection of individuals” (p 39).
In Part 2, Frazee explores Connecting to a Common Place. In this section, he looks at why isolation is a problem. He also examines the five characteristics of a common place of gathering and rediscovering our neighborhood as a place of connecting. A notable quote from this section ” …we were created for face-to face, skin-to-skin, eyeball-to eyeball, handshaking, neck-hugging community” (p. 113). Part 3 examines Connecting to Common Possessions. Frazee explores the problem with consumerism, the characteristics of common possessions, and rediscovering authentic community. He looks at money and time and how Americans have a hard time letting go of both. In the end they are left with empty hollow lives. In part 4, Frazee presents the Implementation of a Connecting Church. In this section Frazee looks at models of delivering community through small groups, how to choose a model and lessons learned and mistakes made.
Vicki and I have been leaders and participants of a small group for nearly all of our married life. Over the years, we have thoroughly enjoyed the relationships we have developed in these groups. We’ve laughed together, cried together, grown in our faith together and done community together through these groups. However, I can honestly say we have never done community together the same way Randy Frazee presents in this updated version of Connecting Church 2.0. Frazee lays out a lifestyle that I wish I had known and practicing during these past 15 years. I have not read the previous edition, so I am not able to compare the two editions. However, I can tell you that this is an invaluable resource for Christians and seekers who want to experience an authentic community in their neighborhood and church. Of course, this is a necessary and needed resource for church leaders and pastors who are working to build community in their churches too. I believe the section on Connecting to a Common Place would be worth it alone as a book for Christians as they work to share their faith with their neighbors and community (my favorite section). Yet this resource does not stop there. It fully outlines steps for implementing a strategy not just personally, but across an entire church community. Frazee’s style of writing is engaging, easy to read, and incredibly informative. He has the gift of looking at today’s culture in America and cutting through barriers and making clear steps any Christian could take to develop more authentic relationships. This ibook definitely a earns a Five Star out of Five rating.
Format: Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (March 12, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0310494354ISBN-13: 978-0310494355
Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Retail Price: $16.99
Randy Frazee is the senior minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he teaches and leads in partnership with pastor and author Max Lucado. Prior to Oak Hills, Randy served as teaching pastor at Willow Creek and as senior pastor at Pantego Bible Church in Fort Worth, Texas, for fifteen years. He is also the author of Making Room for Life and The Christian Life Profile Assessment Tool. Frazee and his wife, Rozanne, have four children and one granddaughter.
He also is an active blogger and you can follow him at RandyFrazee.com.
Frazee is also the author of some other very popular books including
Note: We were provided with a complimentary copy of the book through the Zondervan publisher and Shaun Tabatt at Cross-Focused Reviews for an honest review of this title.