DJ's Book Rants

A Seminary student and pastor trying to find an outlet for all the books he has to read.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Search to Belong

Joseph R. Myers writes with great honesty on a subject that many people are struggling to understand.

Myths of Belonging (If I only had…..)
More time = more belonging
More commitment = more belonging
More purpose = more belonging
More personality = more belonging
More proximity = more belonging
More small groups = more belonging

Belong occurs when we
Connect ++++ Commit ++++ Participate ++++find our connection significant

4 SPACES of Belonging

Public Space - Public belonging occurs when people connect through an outside influence. Fans of a sports team experience a sense of community because they cheer for the same team. They wear official garb, buy special broadcast viewing privileges, and stay up too late or get up extra early just to see the results of the game. These relationships carry great significance in our lives

Social Space - Social belonging occurs when we share "snapshots" of what it would be like to be in personal spcae with us. The phrase "first impression" and "best foot forward" refer to this spatial belonging. You belong socially to your favorite bank teller, you pharmacist, or some of the people with whom you work. Social belonging is important for two reasons. First, it provides the space for "neighbor" relationships. A neighbor is someone you know well enough to ask for (or provide) small favors. Second, it is important because it provides a safe selection or sorting space" for those with whom you would like to develop a "deeper" relationship. We get just enough information to decide to keep this person in this space or move them to another space.

Personal Space - Through personal belonging, we share private (not naked) experiences, feelings, and thoughts. We call the people we connect to in this space "close friends." They are those who know more about us than an acquaintance would, yet not so much that they feel uncomfortable.

Intimate Space - In intimate belonging, we share "naked" experiences, feelings, and thoughts. We have very few relationships that are intimate. These people know the "naked truth" about us and the two of us are not "ashamed."

Important Reminders from Myers
People change spaces: Marriage, Divorce, moving, ect.
Belonging cannot measured by attendance
Having a deep longing to belong is normal and healthy
We can create space for belonging, but we cannot control or program an individuals choice to belong

Monday, August 22, 2005

Courageous Leadership

Bill Hybels uses the experience and gifts God has given him to inspire and instruct church leaders. After reading the first two chapters I was ready to conquer the world. Hybels gave me a vivid picture of how important the work of the church is to God’s plan for the world. The vision he described is compelled me to keep my vision sharp as we for our Church Planting team. There are so many good directions to go, but I know that God has a pinpoint mission for us to be apart of. Before I read Courageous Leadership I knew vision was important, but I now see it as the difference between getting by and prevailing. I realized how much I wanted to be apart of a God sized vision, and why should the church plant team I work with desire anything less. I have made the wrong assumption that I could over share my vision, or that everybody already knows what it is. I was encouraged to find new and passionate ways to share the vision God has for our church. The book also helped me see that setting specific goals could be beneficial and productive. At times I have felt specific number goals to be rather arbitrary and humanistic. Hybels makes an excellent point about, “what gets measured gets done,” and I know as a staff member at a church that I desire clear expectations form my senior pastor. My leadership style is not heavily weighted towards being a strong visionary, but I have seen the great need to sharpen my vision, and make goal setting a priority. I was literally shuffling through people in my mind as I read Hybel’s ten different leadership styles. I found myself predominately in a few different styles, and felt freed from trying to be every type of leader. I believe the recognition of these different types will help me encourage emerging leaders to find their niche. Each chapter I read gave me allot to think about, and it will take me months or years to full realize the value of this book. One concept I have been tossing around for more than a week is “self leadership.” I can see the high value, but I cannot imagine spending 50% of my time in this area, and still being able to say I am being effective. Maybe I just have some growing and understanding to do.