- As a serial reviewer, I try to keep my online (and especially offline) libraries small. It is only the truly exceptional books that I will seek to purchase both physical and electronic copies for easy access. This is one such title that I regard to be 6 stars. For me, a book is great when it compels me to reconsider my existing practice or theology (in this case the former) - specifically using a leader-led open group style for a small group. Now I am exploring and considering the utilised of (i) a closed group and (ii) a facilitative method (in contrast to the lecture style). The resources provided at the end of the book are a mine of gems. Do check it out! I have had the privilege of being in small groups for a good two decades of my life, which range from the two-year short term ones, to indefinite ones whose members will vehemently oppose any leadership attempts to split them apart. I therefore am able to understand the pros and cons of each extreme. The author communicates in an easy to understand and engaging tone, providing many helpful methodological tips honed from years of experience (and trial and error). These practical and wise suggestions are a must for every small group leader, church leader and pastor to evaluate and consider! The many real-life anecdotes provide the reader with a pleasant read and illustrate the concepts presented. Chapter 2 provided this super extroverted social butterfly a sombre reminder that closed groups (whereby visitors do not haphazardly drop in) is paramount for our introverted friends who find it hard to open up their hearts. By default, our cell groups are open in nature, as the venues and timings are openly publicised, but I am compelled to reconsider how we can care for friends who find it difficult to be vulnerable and be accountable in the presence of strangers. He also points out and addresses concerns about closed groups being self-serving etc. I am definitely going to have read up more on consider the purposes and benefits of such closed groups! At first, I am baffled as to why a book this good is not a best seller or even got a revision... Then it occurred to me that megachurches would not want to promote the message of Chapter 3 (Bigger is not better), and the touch and go engagement with bible passages would raise eyebrows of reformed pastors; quotes from the leading commentators would improve its biblical credibility. Also, while all the other chapters were extremely well written, chapter 5 was less clear and slightly confused; an editor perhaps to help improve the clarity and message of that chapter.
- I especially appreciate the inspiration and reminded that the first chapter provided me! It alone was well worth the money I paid for the book! I realised that I had focused too much on faithful bible studying in the small group setting, that I had forgotten to include the occasional relationship-building activity. I would have appreciated if Chapter One (titled Community Resources) of ice breakers and activities were twice as long, because the better quality suggestions that I had marked out for usewere only about 15. As a former applied drama student in polytechnic, I am inspired to revisit that world and adapt the ice breaker activities for gospel and small group settings. This book is targeted at novice and first-time small group leaders. More experienced leaders would possibly find that chapters two to four do not offer much new information. The countless references to the IVCF (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) were a distraction, hopefully these would be reduced in the revised edition.
- I have read the print edition and thoroughly enjoyed the read. It's one book that you can keep referring to again and again. The logos pre-order price is more expensive than the print edition though, which is not cool, because I do not see myself using much of the logos features as I would read it as I would an ebook.
- I can't even find it on Amazon OR CBD, now. This sale price might be the best chance to get it. The problem with the pricing on books from Zondervan lies WITH Zondervan. Logos does the best they can. Zondervan has never been able to figure out that digital books are MUCH cheaper to publish, transport and store. Very sad.
- The 2002 version was recommended by D A Carson in his NT Commentary Survey, am keen to know when will the 2014 version will be released on logos. Or will it automatically be given to those who already have bought the 2002 logos version?