Pre-order this book, folks!
Baker Books sent me a pre-published manuscript of M. Scott Boren's newest book, Missional Small Groups: Becoming a community that makes a difference in the world
While I will create a full book review of it when it is released in July, I will say this:
Boren does an excellent job of describing the four basic kinds of small groups found in churches today because they tell a story about those who comprise them:
• The Story of Personal Involvement
• The Story of Lifestyle Adjustment
• The Story of Relational Revision
• The Story of Missional Re-creation
I won't go into all the details as to what each one means right now and steal Scott's thunder. But I will comment with this: most small group ministries in American churches attract folks with the top two stories and hope the groups will naturally follow the story of the third and then the fourth, which will not happen by giving the groups service or outreach projects or evangelism tasks.
The book goes on to describe small-step practices that can move a group from one story to the next in a way that is more value-driven than task oriented.
This is an important book for lead pastors and small group pastors who see their small groups as far more than a key to member retention, but don't know how to walk the small group members into a much deeper expression where missional activities happen naturally (although not easily because missional living is consistently sacrificial).
The title of this blog post says it all... Pre-order this book and actually read it word for word when it comes in. Don't skim it and don't read the first ten pages and set it aside because you're a few pages into a bunch of other books that you should finish first. This book actually has the answers to some of the deepest small group questions you have in your heart, but you may not have ever thought of in your head.
PS - This book is much easier to read than some of the author's other excellent, yet deeper and theological books such as The Relational Way. I am finding it to be a page-turner and the content is easily understood the first time I read it.