Answers From Me Part 2: Small Group Studies

Two weeks ago, I let you (The Stretched Community) ask me anything.  The questions ranged from simple and fun to serious and deep.  As promised, I wanted to answer as many of the questions as possible.  This week, I’ll answer a question about small groups asked by Bridgette Petrino:

Hi Jon – I have a question for you (or anyone willing to answer)… what are some good small group studies out there? I lead a mixed group (and it’s mostly couples, but age ranges from 30-65 years old). We all get along great. We try to alternate between DVD based and book based, but now with the summer coming DVD based seems good because with vacations, etc. people can jump in and out without missing much. And, there is usually no “homework” in between sessions. It’s seems like there are so many studies out there that I get overwhelmed looking through everything, so I would greatly appreciate some suggestions. Thanks!

This is a great question, Bridgette!  The right study can make all the difference in the success or failure of a group.  It makes sense to find a curriculum that best suits your group.  It’s great to see that you have such a  diversified group of people in your small group.  At the YS Palooza conference I attended this weekend, Kara Powell (author of Sticky Faith) spoke about the benefits of inter-generational groups in helping people in sticking to God and the church.

Some of you may not know that I have a huge passion for seeing people connecting to each other and to God.  Small groups are a great place for connection.  Over the years, I’ve led and participated in many small groups.  There’s a lot of small group curriculum and discussion guides that I’ve never used, so I’d love to hear what suggestions others have for this question.  Here are a few that I’ve enjoyed over the years:

  • Making Room For Life by Randy Frazee (book study)
  • NOOMA by Rob Bell (DVD study – This may raise some eyebrows as Rob Bell has been in the news for some of his theological beliefs, but I’ve found this series to be an excellent springboard for discussions.)
  • 40 Days of Purpose by Rick Warren (book and DVD study)
  • Fully Devoted by John Ortberg (this is a discussion/book series that our church is using for the Foundations Class)
  • Supernanny Parenting Discussion Guide by Jon and Leanne Stolpe (This is a parenting discussion curriculum written by my wife and I several years ago based on the Supernanny television series.)
  • Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby (This book study is pretty intense.  I may not recommend it for a summer series, but it’s worth going through when your group can focus more and be consistent with attendance and homework.)

I could probably recommend a few more, but this should provide a start.  I’m hoping that The Stretched Community will chime in with more ideas to help Bridgette.

What small group curriculum do you recommend?  What’s worked well in your small group?  What hasn’t worked so well in your small group?