I recently had the pleasure of reading Small Groups Made Easy: Practical and Biblical Starting Points to Lead Your Gathering by Ryan Lokkesmoe. This 157-page paperback book helps getting one started on leading a small group through:
- Tips to spark engaging conversations
- Advice for handling tough questions and other challenges
- 12 Bible studies that walk you through your discussions
Small Groups Made Easy contains 17 chapters and a conclusion that are quite straightforward and full of very useful information for those who might want to step up in their church and lead a group Bible study or another similar group. There are four chapters that deal with practical points for you as a leader of a small group. These points could be applied to your Bible study group or even a group you are leading in your workplace. Lokkesmoe touches upon:
- Defining the role of a leader by examining Jesus
- How one needs to work through logistical matters such as attendance, communication through emails, social media, etc.; co-leaders, the location and time of your meeting, and childcare for your group members
- How to handle personal challenges such as conflicts within the group, needy people who monopolize the groups' time, those who always take a contrarian position on topics, individuals who dominate the conversation, awkward silences, and lack of friendships or bonds between group members
- Spiritual concerns like how prepared one should be for Bible discussions or what happens if you, as the leader, can't answer a question
The second half of the book provides twelve starter studies to help the leader of a small church group get started on their journey. Each chapter is laid out in the same manner with the following three sections:
What Do I Think?
Ryan Lokkesmoe presents a very clear book to help those who are small group leaders. Throughout the book, Small Groups Made Easy, one finds numerous Bible and Scriptural references to help one become a strong small group leader. For example, in the starter study, "How Do I Grow Spiritually," we are presented with references to John 3:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17, and the text of Matthew 11:28-30 to help us put our faith in Jesus and learn that "placing our lives in His hands should feel like rest" (84). I appreciate that Lokkesmoe does not only give readers topics, but also provides readers the means necessary to begin a discussion in one's own small group.
From a practical standpoint, I think this is a very economical choice for someone who needs some help as a small group leader or as a gift for a new small group leader. I could easily imagine a pastor purchasing a handful for his small group leaders to provide assistance and encouragement. I would recommend Small Groups Made Easy for those involved in the ministry and those who are or who are going to be leading small groups.
Find my review of the second book 16 Bible Studies for Your Small Group here: Book Review.