Archives For Small Groups


A Messy Community for A Select Few

A review of

Community is Messy: The Perils and Promise of Small Group Ministry

Heather Zempel

Paperback: IVP Books, 2012
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Review by Sam Edgin


Books are written for niches. They often draw a certain audience who happen to be interested in a particular subject, whatever those respective audiences and subjects may happen to be. It may be that the very best books – those which will inevitably be reprinted cheaply and sold in Barnes and Noble with the word “classic” splashed boldly on their covers – transcend subject matter through the twin powers of prose and story and appeal to a broader readership. However, it is none too hard to find proof that books written for a specific audience draw the most revenue. Case in point: at the writing of this article, the three top-selling books on Amazon are the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid – written for media-saturated elementary students; Killing Kennedy – a dance around political history and conspiracy by conservative talk-show host Bill O’Reilly for those who like the scintillating host and historical controversy; and America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t – another foray into the satirical goofiness of Stephen Colbert for admirers of his “truthiness” and skeptics of American exceptionalism.


Continue Reading…


An Essay by Alan Jacobs on Book Culture
Written for (not surprisingly… ) BOOKS AND CULTURE

It wasn’t until after I read Ted Striphas’ book The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control that I realized that its title and subtitle are somewhat at odds with each other. As I began reading, it was the title that governed my expectations: coined by Jay David Bolter, the phrase “late age of print” is meant to be analogous to the Marxist concept of “late capitalism.” “Late” in this case suggests a highly developed, sophisticated set of structures that are beginning to fall into decadence—structures that have lost their essential motive energy and are living off capital generated long ago. With these thoughts in mind, I was expecting and hoping that Striphas would provide a kind of critical ethnography, and perhaps a diagnosis, of print culture in the past hundred years or so.

But no: the book really isn’t about print culture at all; it is rather, as the subtitle more reliably informs us, about book culture.

Read the full essay:

Greg Boyd Reviews Scott Boren’s new book

After 18 years of pastoring a rather large American church, I would have to say that the second hardest challenge our leadership team has faced as we have labored to make disciples of weekend church attenders is getting people to commit to sharing life with others in a small group context. The hardest challenge, however, has been to get small groups to view themselves as distinctly kingdom communities who come together not simply to hang out or engage in an occasional Bible study, but to carry out the mission God has given us.

My friend Scott Boren, who is also the “Connecting Pastor” at Woodland Hills Church, has just published a book on this topic called Missional Small Groups: Becoming a Community That Makes a Difference in the World (Baker). Scott artfully places his assessment of the challenges facing small groups as well as his proposed solutions to these challenges in a narrative framework.

Read the full review:

Missional Small Groups:
Becoming a Community That Makes a Difference in the World
Scott Boren.
Paperback: Baker Books, 2010.
Buy now:  [ ]