While I'm in the groove of recommending books my friends have written, here's another: Finding the Flow: A guide for leading small groups and gatherings. I'm reading the book now and, although I've read umteen different books on small group dynamics, this one is refreshingly...well, fresh. Jenn Peppers is a friend and fellow coach of many years, and she and co-author Tara Miller have put together a resource that does what few (if any) other Xtian small group resources do: Assume that God is actually present in the midst of a small group gathering, and respect His role as the primary leader of the group.
Here's what I mean: Though most Christian small group resources strive to be God-honoring in their content, their strategic advice and group study outlines tend to be written as if God isn't present. I've written small group curriculum for over 20 years now, and I can tell you that most of it is written in a functionally agnostic way...believing God is real, but not terribly close by, and certainly not actively engaged in a small group discussion. Most curriculum "bookends" God with a prayer at the beginning and a prayer at then end, but the guts of it assumes He's on the bench watching passively as we teach.
Finding the Flow puts God back in the Leader's chair. And it gives small group facilitators real-world practical guidance for how to move beyond addressing small group issues as "issues" and instead fully engaging with other people as human beings. Jenn and Tara lead the way by sharing a lot of their own personal stories in the book. They don't give easy answers or any quaint but ridiculous "5 Steps to Success." Instead, they invite you into a conversation where God is present and active and pointing the way forward. And that is what finding the flow is all about.
Check out their (terrific) website here: findingtheflow.org
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