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.