Walking the Small Group Tightrope

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walking_the_smallgroup_tightrope2One of the challenges in small group ministry is coming up with practical leader training.   There’s just not a lot out there…and what is out there is not always the nuts and bolts of becoming a better small group leader.  One exception?   Walking the Small Group Tightrope by Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson.

The first thing that struck me about this little book is that in some ways it’s a more detailed continuation of Leading Life-Changing Small Groups.  Taking six very important leadership tensions and breaking them down with illustrations and practical take-aways, this is a book that you could use to enhance your leader development.

The six tensions covered in Walking the Small Group Tightrope are:

  • Truth vs. Life
  • Care vs. Discipleship
  • Friendship vs. Accountability
  • Kindness vs. Confrontation
  • Task vs. People
  • Openness vs. Intimacy

See where this goes?  Using the metaphor of a tightrope to frame the discussion, Donahue and Robinson share personal leadership experiences that make the issues very clear and then lead to next steps.  As the authors point out,

Small groups cannot thrive by focusing on either end of the continuum.  They cannot choose friendship over accountability, kindness over confrontation, or task over community.  Rather, effective life-giving small groups must embrace both ends of the continuum, in healthy opposition, and walk the tightrope between them toward authentic community and life-change (p. 21).

One of the most helpful features of the book is that each of the six tensions is supported and enhanced by a group exercise; taking it beyond information to application.  This is an important step and makes Walking the Small Group Tightrope a resource you ought to own and incorporate into the ongoing development of small group leaders in your ministry.

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