Summer reading

Well, it’s summer again. Which means planning, preparing, and, hopefully, slowing down to read a bit.

image credit: CreationSwap user

Undoubtedly, you have plenty on your list to read. But in case you’re looking for some new small group-related summer reading material, we’ve got you covered. There have been some great groups-related books that have been released this year…ones that are worth your time.

Summer Small Group Reading List

Leading Small Groups with Purpose, by Steve Gladen

Steve Gladen, pastor of small groups at Saddleback Church for more than a decade, takes you step-by-step toward a healthy, dynamic group with focus and purpose. For the new small group leader, the seasoned leader who feels their small group lacks purpose, or the leader who is itching to move their small group to the next level, Leading Small Groups with Purpose is the road map to follow.

Every chapter includes ideas that you can implement immediately, as well as ways to shape your small group over time. With Gladen’s expert help, you will define success clearly, develop a personal leadership plan, invite members into your group, and help members fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, by Rick Howerton

Many churches still take a modern approach to small-group ministry, but the truth is we now live in a post-Christian world. Society’s definitions for family, spirituality, and even truth are different than they were ten years ago.

In A Different Kind of Tribe, small-groups expert Rick Howerton explains what has changed, offers a new approach to small-group life, and equips you to succeed.

Field Guide for Small Group Leaders: Setting the Tone, Accommodating Learning Styles, & More, by Sam O’Neal

There are countless helpful resources available to the small group leader. As managing editor of, Sam O’Neal has seen the best of them come and go. They tend to deal with the big visionof small groups–how they can revolutionize your church and transform your congregation. Or they consider the big idea of small group ministry, how it reflects God’s communal vision for us. But sometimes a small group leader just wants to know how to survive the next meeting–not how to instruct and correct or shock and awe, but simply how to set the table for a life-changing encounter with God. The Field Guide for Small Group Leaders focuses in on the small group gathering as spiritual event. Useful to newly minted leaders and as a ready resource for small group experts, this go-to guide helps leaders prepare themselves to prepare their groups for the adventure of a collective encounter with a great God.

Transformational Discipleship: How People really Grow, by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, & Phillip Nation

A Christian’s desire to grow in faith is beautiful and biblical, best illustrated in Jeremiah 17 where Scripture describes “The man who trusts in the LORD” as being “like a tree planted by water . . . It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.”

But how do people really grow? Transformational Discipleship describes the process that brings to life that kind of person described in the Bible. There’s no magic formula or mantra to recite here, but rather a substantive measure of research with churches and individuals who have wholeheartedly answered the call of Jesus to make disciples.

Small Group Vital Signs, by Mike Mack

Healthy small groups grow and reproduce themselves. But how do you know if your group is healthy, and how do you gauge the vitality? 

In this new release, Michael Mack shares the 7 “vital signs” of a healthy small group and how your group can become healthier in each area. This book includes tools to diagnose the health of your group, but even more importantly, it provides biblical cures for what ails many groups — perhaps yours!

Gospel-Centered Discipleship, by Jonathan Dodson

Everyone’s idea of discipleship is different. Some people emphasize evangelism—sharing their faith. Still others promote a hierarchical system for spiritual growth, a way for older Christians to pass on best practices to younger believers. Yet, both ideas are incomplete. Real discipleship is so much more.

Avoiding extremes and evaluating motives, Jonathan Dodson insists on a way of following Jesus that re-centers discipleship on the gospel.

So…what are you reading this summer?

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