Book Review: “Leading Small Groups In The Way of Jesus” by M. Scott Boren

I’ve read dozens of books on small group leadership, group dynamics, cell church principles and so on, but none are quite like this book by Scott Boren.

There are many books that explain cell minsitry from a pragmatic view point and many that talk about groups as a powerful evangelistic strategy, and there are some that show how small groups have always been at the heart of healthy church movements through the ages.

This is the first book that I’ve read that shows how our group leadership practices must reflect the character of Christ so that the groups and the people in them learn to grow in the ways of Jesus.

Boren describes eight “Pracitces” that together lead us in the way of Jesus:

  • Hear the rhythms of the Jesus Way
  • Gather in the Presence
  • Lead collaboratively
  • Be yourself
  • Hang out
  • Make a difference
  • Fight well
  • Point the way to the Cross.

Each chapter left me saying “Wow!” as I picked up new aspects to the ministry of cell leadership, and pastoral ministry for that matter.

This book is descriptive rather than prescriptive. In other words, the author does not give directions for leading a group. Rather he describes how each practice can be experienced and encouraged in the group. There is no 4-step plan for dealing with the over-talkative member, but there are principles for dealing with conflict in a godly, loving and healing way.

This is a book I will be returning to often, maybe picking up insights from a chapter at a time.

However, it is not a book that I can recommend to my cell leaders, or at least not to all of them. The book is written in a style that people who have had only a High School level of education would struggle with. People who do not read for enjoyment will struggle with this book. That’s not a criticism but an observation about the style, the concepts and the use of language.

It’s a great book even though it’s not for everyone. The content is too important to not share, though. My cell leaders will be learning about this in our meetings and training.

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