Building Biblical Community, a new DVD-driven grouplife resource, has been one of Lifeway’s most anticipated releases…at least within the small group ministry community.
Featuring Bill Donahue (after 18 years invested building biblical community at Willow Creek) and Steve Gladen (13 years building the small group community at Saddleback), this is a study everyone ought to be taking a look at. These guys are not new to the journey. They’re also not theorists. They’ve been doing this for a long time in the two ministries that have had more impact on grouplife than anywhere else. What you’re doing today, pretty much wherever you are…these guys, these ministries have influenced you already.
Building Biblical Community develops four key aspects of grouplife. Becoming a celebrating community, a learning community, a loving community and a serving community are all essential ingredients. Each of the four sessions explores one of these key ingredients through DVD segments, scripture to be examined, and a set of insight-generating discussion questions.
Watching the DVD segments, I was really struck by the sense that Bill and Steve were having a good time together. The fact that they’re clearly having fun will make for an enjoyable experience for your members. To be honest, it almost feels like they’re part of your group meeting. I review a lot of curriculum and to my knowledge, this is the only grouplife study that has this feel. Very refreshing.
In addition to the sessions themselves, each of the four essential ingredients are driven deeper by daily personal devotionals, provided in the member book. These daily devotional experiences are short enough to be doable by even the busiest member. A verse or two, chosen to help focus your mind on the practice you’re learning about; followed by a question or two, designed to prompt introspection. Easy to follow through. Powerful impact on group members.
Another very helpful component in this study is a fairly comprehensive Leader Notes section, included in every member book. There are general tips and ideas as well as session ideas. In addition, you’ll find a Leader Tips segment on the DVD. You’ll have to look carefully to find it. The leader to leader coaching is located within the Session 1 menu.
This is a very good resource. It may turn out to be a study you use on a regular basis to help groups get started. It might also be a resource that you introduce to groups that are already meeting but really need a purpose realignment.