Leading Small Groups: How to Gather, Launch, Lead, and Multiply Your Small GroupChris SurrattB&H Books / 2019 / Trade Paperback$12.99 Retail:3.5 Stars Out Of 5 4 Reviews
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Rachel Clark5 Stars Out Of 5Great Resource with Small Groups!July 19, 2019Rachel ClarkWhether you're wanting to join a small group or begin leading a small group, Chris Surratt's Leading Small Groups: How to Gather, Launch, Lead and Multiply Your Small Group is an easy read you won't want to miss. Throughout the book, Surratt discusses what has worked well for him as he's led small groups. The book ranges from the details of gathering, starting, leading, or multiplying your small group. As Surratt talks about each section, he gives dos and don'ts and even shares his personal experience.
The book itself is laced with Scripture to encourage any reader, whether a small group attender or leader, to have an understanding of why small groups should exist and how small groups should operate.
I'm confident this book will be one I continually go back to since it's not only full of Scripture, but also provides practical tips for any leader. He includes helpful resources as well like a sample small group covenant, icebreakers, a curriculum plan, a spiritual gift list, a small group roster/attendance sheet, and so much more!
Doug S.2 Stars Out Of 5Book places too many unrealistic expectations on group membersMay 22, 2019Doug S.Quality: 5Value: 3Meets Expectations: 2In his new book, "Leading Small Groups: How to Gather, Launch, Lead and Multiply Your Small Group," Chris Surratt draws from his own personal experience as a small group leader on how he would form a small group.
Published by B&H Publishing, his 208-page book is broken down into four sections covering the aforementioned areas in the subtitle. While Surratt offers some sound advice, his book seemed to be more about controlling group members than allowing them to be led by the Spirit of God.
In fact, there are so many suggestions on what members should do that it actually could border on legalism, which would definitely drive many away and completely defeat the purpose of a small group. Surratt seems to be telling members what they should do and not do, instead of what they can do on a volunteer basis.
In addition, Surratt places far too many unrealistic expectations on group members that go beyond the normal boundaries and objectives of a small group.
For example, Surratt suggests "Make the Ask" (page 56-57) via an in-person invitation or e-mail, which is fine. But then he tells other members: "Don't expect or even ask for a commitment (to the group) on the spot. If they decide to commit, that's great!
"But most people will need time to think and pray about it before deciding. Let them know you will check back in a weekThe right season of life or circumstances will come along for them to need the community you are offering through your group. Don't give up!"
What?!! How can the leader possibly know people will need what their group has to offer? In addition, if they don't want to join the group, that's their decision. Just leave them alone and stop bothering them.
Besides, if you don't stop bothering them, it could result in some unexpected and unforeseen consequences: they could end up gossiping about and bad-mouthing your group as well as your church. If they want to be a part of the group, it should happen naturally and by the Spirit of God. They shouldn't be harassed into joining a group if they don't want to anyway.
Another example of this aspect of controlling or, albeit, corralling group members is when Surratt discusses implementing a 'Group Covenant (page 64)." Like required church membership, people should not have to sign anything. It should be of their own volition to join the group and they should not feel obligated to contractually do so.
While establishing certain boundaries and objections is understandable, there should also be an element of grace. People should be able to decide for themselves if a certain group is right for them and be not forced to sign a document.
Yet, another example that probably bothered me just as much, if not more, is Surratt's suggestion that group members sit in church together (page 70). They need to be with their families during the service, not their group members.
They also should not be obligated to participate in a group member's family outings (i.e., attending a member's child's games to cheer them on) or many of the other suggested activities.
The truth is, this may be too inappropriate for some members and go beyond the personal boundaries of the group. The point is you should never impose yourself on anyone's personal space or presume members want to interact with you outside of a group meeting.
Nor, do you want to pick and choose who gets invited to a group. For instance, specific groups, such as men's Bible studies, can easily turn into gentlemen's clubs where cliques are formed, and other men get ignored.
Another concern with the book is when he discusses practicing genuine authenticity (page 99), where he talks about being transparent within the group. If someone wants to talk about their sin, they should be able to do it privately without being coerced into sharing it with the group.
Still, other problems with the book are expecting every member to conform to a specific Bible translation or theology (page 127); expecting the group to multiply (page 137) when that should never be the goal of starting small groups. It should never be what some call "purpose-driven." Once more, small groups should never be obligated to meet during the summer and especially on holidays, which borderlines on invading someone's time and personal space (page 164).
In addition, members of small again should never be expected or obligated to hang out together outside the group and "go to a ball game, Enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks together," much less "go on a short-term missions trip" with one another (page 164-65). Plus, since Christians should not be celebrating Halloween, they should not be expected to "use an October group meeting to have a pumpkin carving contest (page 165)."
Lastly, small group members should not be expected to act like children by showing their "Play-Dough Personality (page 177)".
While Surratt's heart is in the right place, his book falls short of its intended goal. With the inundation of small group books already on the Christian market, there is one that would likely be far more appropriate and beneficial to those who wish to lead small groups.
I gave it a 2 out of 5 stars.
Full disclosure: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, I received this book free through B&H Publishing. My opinions are my own and I wasn't required to write a positive review.
2019 by Doug S., M.A.
FayJac5 Stars Out Of 5Good book on Leading Small GroupsMay 21, 2019FayJacSmall groups are very important in any church and started with the early church in Acts. Small groups have been influential in many people's lives by leading them to Christ, helping them grow spiritually and providing opportunities to minister and be a community in the Body of Christ.
This is a great handbook to starting, maintaining and growing a small group. This book tells how to "Gather, Launch, Lead, and Multiply your Small Group." The author stresses three things that a small group should do: Discipleship, Community and Mission. He begins from the very beginning about how to start a small group and then goes through the challenges of leading it and then how to multiply it and keep it going. He deals with problems you can encounter and each chapter ends with a brief note about his own experience in that area. Each chapter also ends with questions to think about to apply what you learned in that chapter. The appendix has resources such as a sample group covenant, icebreakers, sample curriculum, etc., to help leaders.
I think this is a good resource for anyone currently leading a small group, but especially those wanting to lead a small group. I learned a lot from this book and I am using the ideas from this book combined with what I learned in Disciple Her to start a small, closed, discipleship group for women in the fall.
(Please Note: While this book was given to me to review by B&H and Lifeway, the opinions expressed are my own.)
thechristianscribeArizonaAge: 25-34Gender: Female2 Stars Out Of 5There are Better Books on the SubjectMay 19, 2019thechristianscribeArizonaAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 2Value: 2Meets Expectations: 2Leading Small Groups by Chris Surratt is a short volume with practical advice for forming and maintaining small groups. It answers questions such as, "what is a small group leader?" and how to recruit, start and lead a small group. It is intended for the leader of a small group.
Here is my honest opinion about this book. There are too many books on this subject already, but I decided to give a try (although I have already read my fair share of books on this subject). I have led small groups before and have learned through lots of trial and error. Many of the points discussed here, I have learned through experience. While I appreciate the intent behind this book, I didn't get much from it or found anything groundbreaking. I also did not like the fact that this book came across as a self-help book. There are too many human strategies discussed here as though, small groups grow from human effort and not by allowing God to take control. Of course, there has to be some structure but the foundation of it should rest upon allowing God to move within the group instead of trying to manipulate it. However, I do appreciate the small nuggets of truth here and there.
I received a copy of this book from B&H in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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