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Review: Building Biblical Community

Our small groups team was given the great opportunity to preview Building Biblical Community early this month. Like I said before, Lifeway is beginning to put a good foot forward when it comes to small group material and I am grateful for their commitment to this area. This small group study, by Steve Gladen and Bill Donahue, I think can function as the flagship resource in this small group resurgence for LifeWay. I don’t blow smoke on this site. Brian Daniel and the LW groups team knows this. So let me tell you straight up why our team is excited to send Summit Small Groups through this resource:

  • Experts – If you ask anyone in the groups field who are THE GUYS to learn groups from, they will probably start with Steve and Bill. These guys understand small groups in a local church setting from years in the trenches. I consider Steve a mentor, and Bill’s writing has been very influential in my growth as a groups pastor. basically, Building Biblical Community is like a Lebron James & Kobe Bryant basketball camp for small group leaders. The two best in the game training others how to do it.
  • Short & Simple – Four sessions with very clear teaching and clear objectives. New groups need clarity and this provides it. That said, new groups do not need to spend forever as a “new” group. They need to clarify expectations, then get to work. 4 weeks is a good time span for that. I mean, It’s almost dummy proof. leading me to…
  • New Leader Friendly – THIS IS HUGE! New small group leaders have the daunting task of leading that first discussion when their group forms. By utilizing DVD teaching from Steve & Bill a group leader gets 4 weeks to ease into the wonderful life of facilitating small group discussion.
  • Sound Teaching – I’m constantly skeptical of new small group material. I’ve been using Mahaney’s Why Small Groups ever since I began my job because there is no other material that comes close to giving a sound, biblically rich explanation of what small group life should be. Thankfully, I can now offer this material with equal confidence! Simple concepts that are both true and clearly applicable.

While i have no strong objections to the study, I would like to see Gladen & Donahue focus in on training groups in gospel-centered community life. I think there is a growing recovery in evangelicalism of gospel-centrality, but I’m not sure small groups understand how to apply the gospel in a community setting. This study touched on it, but I’d love to see more. maybe in another resource!

Bottom line, this resource was a long time coming and many churches will be much better off now that it is here. Thank you LifeWay for coordinating this effort and huge thanks to Steve & Bill for their continued commitment to small groups around the country.

Buy it!

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