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Monday, August 1, 2011

Connecting in Communities: Understanding the Dynamics of small groups

Connecting in Communities: Understanding the Dynamics of small groups
by Eddie Mosley

Print: 192 pages
Publisher: Navpress

Point: Small-groups, if properly run and well maintained, are an invaluable source of encouragement, growth, strength, and outreach.

Path: The author shares his experiences as a small-group pastor of LifePoint church and his extensive survey of the small-group movement in the past twenty years. He attempts to give reasons for small groups, practical advice in starting and maintaining small groups, and answers to the most common questions surrounding small-groups.

Sources: Mosley bases much of his study on information from Willow Creek, Saddleback, and his own experiences.

Agreement: Truthfully, it is hard to measure the benefits of Biblical small-groups. It is a shame that so many believers accept the consumer approach to church, where they come, sit, and leave without ever interacting with other believers. It is also a shame that so many churches have no vision for outreach in the communities. Mosley gives practical suggestions on how to reach out to your neighbors, be purposeful in discipling others, encourage growth in godliness, and other essential elements of the Christian walk.

Disagreement: This follows the format of much of today’s “practical guides to...” books. Scripture is cited (albeit sporadically) in order to prove a point, rather than studied to derive principles. The foundation for small-groups is weakly laid. The ideas are at times redundant and shallow.

Personal App: I was challenged to look around at how I could start a small group in my neighborhood. How many of my neighbors do I actually know? How many would come to me if there was just a death in the family? If none or few, it means I cannot possibly be loving my neighbor as Christ commanded. (And yes, I do know that Jesus meant more than simply the person next door, but he did not mean less)

Stars: 2 out of 5
Don’t read this book for your main foundation of the why or how of small-groups. Skim it for some practical advice.

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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)