Monday, November 26, 2007

Book #22 -- Creating Community by Andy Stanley & Bill Willits

I was amazed at how quickly I got through this book. Especially with the depth of information to be had. I am convinced that you will not find a group of people anywhere as passionate about connecting folks with God in a real way as the gang at North Point. Not only are they passionate about it, they have found relevant ways to do it without changing or compromising truth. This book is one of the resources they have made available. It is in a nutshell the why and hows of their small groups.

I always go into treading texts like this with the realization that I will not find everything presented as practical or agree with the process given. I am refreshed when the authors admit this fact and in fact acknowledge that the way they do things is not the way for everyone. If all churches were exactly the same what would be the point? I did find several things that I found interesting and that I feel we should at the very least take a serious look at in our discipleship groups. This is definitely a book that anyone who is involved in organizing/ leading small groups ministries should read. Here are some of my key takeaways...

  • the only numeric goal they set is in the area of small group participation
  • groups will not have true impact if the top leaders do not buy in and participate themselves
  • groups should be an extension of how God intended for us to "do life"
  • God has called the church to be about creating environments where authentic community can take place
  • We have to answer the "big three". What do we want people to become? What do we want people to do? Where do we want people to go?
  • A great strategy is simple to understand and easy to implement
  • the authors make a strong defense of closed groups
  • there is a fundamental difference in "thinking programs" and "thinking steps"
  • most people's problem today is not with God, rather with the church
  • each step needs to be easy, obvious, and strategic to be successful
  • our expectations of participants and leaders especially, need to be based in reality
  • it is not the acquisition of information that prepares a leader to properly lead, rather it is the application of the RIGHT information
  • "train less for more"
  • 5 factors for group success: SIMPLE, VISIBLE, VALUED, RESOURCED, MODELED
  • people do not need more things to attend; they need the kind of life-giving benefits that occur when people connect regularly in a meaningful way
  • the interesting policy of reimbursing families for childcare while attending groups

As we continue to mold our groups, this information will be a tool in our hands.

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