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Small Group Resources

I’ve noticed an increase in “hey what are you doing there for groups” conversations in the past few weeks. As small group point people gear up for the fall, we are all in research & development mode. So If you’ve dropped by this site for that reason, let me give you at least some of my bank of resource links over the next couple of days. So you know, I’ve tried to keep this site updated to include a good blogroll (on the right) & a decent “about” page that includes some of these things. So you can check those out. Today I’m covering “Before you Build” and “Building” groups ministries resources.

Before you Build a Groups Ministry (helping you see the “why” before the “how”)*

  • Building a church OF small groups by Bill Donahue & Russ Robinson – 1st 3 chapters alone are worth the price of the book. GREAT at helping you think about what you are considering getting into. & a full sermon series on community is resting in those pages waiting to be mined. I know Bill and I think his brain shows its power in this book maybe more than any other he’s written. I’m waiting on him to intro me to Russ Robinson someday.
  • Creating Community by Andy Stanley & Bill Willits – this one is short & clear. I make all of my interns read this book so they can get a strong introduction to groups ministry. I know this Bill as well (I just counted, I know at least 6 Bills) and he is one of the sharpest groups practitioners out there. After you read this you will want more from Northpoint & you can get it at their conference called Re:Group this fall.
  • Life Together by Deitrich Bonhoeffer – If you’ve been here to the blog for any length of time you know this is my guy. Love the way he puts words together, especially on community. This is the book that will get you AMPED to build a healthy community of believers. Ignore the awful cover on amazon right now. That one has been replaced by a much cooler one.
  • Total Church by Steve Timmis & Tim Chester. This book woke me up. Timmis & Chester push us to remember at the base of it what the local church is: A community of people built around the gospel. They give fresh vision to how we can reclaim that simple understanding of church in our busy complex day & age. If you are tired of the missional language, but like the concept, read this book. It will help you dream for your area.
  • 7 questions on missional communities – A set of articles, videos, and Q&A from the fellas at the Verge Network. These guys have pushed mainstream evangelicals to really consider how we are making disciples who make disciples. This is a decent summary that will expose you to a few of the thinkers in this vein. Grateful to my friend Todd Engstrom for engaging me & challenging me over several conversations around this concept.

Building a Groups Ministry (once you are convinced & ready to build…)

  • Small Groups with Purpose by Steve Gladen. Steve is the architect of the Small Group ministry at Saddleback church in sunny Lake Forest, CA. He is one of the sharpest guys I know in the groups space, especially in the arena of executing your strategy. Saddleback has over 110% of their weekend attendance in small groups (And they run 20k+ on a weekend). Steve founded The Small Group Network and co-hosts The Small Group Show. He’s kind of become a Godfather of sorts in the small group arena. He put together a great resource here for you to use in figuring out the pieces of the small group puzzle.
  • Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry by Bill Donahue & Russ RobinsonI hate to bring up the same authors in one post without getting paid for it, but these guys went on a great writing spree we are all benefiting from. This is the fruit of the willow-creek model and filled with much more methodology than the “church of groups” book recommended above.
  • Community by Brad House. Though his subtitle is “taking your small group off life support” I think it is an important enough read to get into at the get-go. Brad oversees the small group ministry at Mars Hill Church based out of Seattle, WA. He also has an engineering background. Which is why you need to read his book. He is a theologian with an engineer’s mind. Which means he can articulate important concepts, then show you how they all connect & make sense in the local church. I repent regularly of my jealousy over Brad’s brain. & That I cannot wear the cool glasses he pulls off.

*All of these resources are dealing with community & the groups model for disciple making. If you are the point person for your church on disciple making, there are some key classics you need to read on discipleship. I will recommend those before this series is over.

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