Friday, March 1, 2013

Field Guide for Small Group Leaders by Sam O'Neal (Book Review)

There is a growing plethora of books on the market for small group leaders. Right now, I'm even in middle of writing a new book that will add to that list. Some books speak to the overall health and vision of a small group. Others are great at providing an overview and vision for group life. Different books offer different things. The one thing that group leaders most often want to know—especially those who are relatively new to group leadership—is the answer to this question: How can I lead a meeting well?

The book that I've recommended on this question is How to Lead a Great Small Group Meeting by Joel Comiskey. Now I've got an additional title that has some unique, helpful features. It's entitled Field Guide for Small Group Leaders by Sam O'Neal. While the book is not limited to information about leading a meeting, that's where it's emphasis and strengths lie.

It is a compelling read as it covers all of the necessary basics that small group leaders need to know to lead a group well. From how to ask good questions, to how to prepare for the meeting, to how to address common problems, this is truly a field guide that will help leaders on the path of small group life.

There are a couple of unique attributes that puts it over the top though. First, it addresses how different learning style impact group life. I've not yet seen this in a book on church small groups. This is great stuff because when you put a group of ten people in a room and start talking, you can expect people to process the discussion in different ways. And most of the time, curriculum is written for a very limited set of learning styles.

I also like the creative suggestions for offering a variety of learning experiences and activities. This insight can break the rut of just doing the same thing week-after-week.

This is a great guide for starting out as a leader, while at the same time, it provides a great refresher to those who have been leading for while. I know I learned some new things.

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