Recently my friend Ben Reed released a short book on small groups called “The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint”. Ben is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN area. He’s been a good friend and has challenged my thinking. I had the chance to ask him a few questions about the book, and below are his answers. You can get it on Amazon here.
Who is the primary audience for the book?
The primary audience for my book is the person who wants to help his/her small group grow, and help people take steps of faith. I think small group leaders, small group pastors, lead pastors, education directors, and small group coaches would benefit from it.
But it would also be a resource that a potential leader/apprentice could read and (hopefully) find helpful.
If you had to sum up the book in 2 sentences, what would they be?
Healthy, biblical, authentic community has significantly marked my faith journey to the point that I want to help create pockets of these communities everywhere. And I don’t want to just help create them…I want them to be sustained for the long haul, creating disciples that create disciples.
With respect to the volumes of small group literature available, what makes this book unique?
This book is intended to be read by a wider audience than just guys and gals who live and breathe small group life. I’ve kept it intentionally short…it’s just 70 pages…so that it can be consumed in shorter periods of time, and the principles I discuss more quickly implemented.
I’ve written from my experience of leading at the small group level and at the ministry-wide church level. I’ve seen small groups thrive…and wither. Through sharing my story, I hope to propel the former in cities around the world.
I loved the simple statement “party monthly” as a small group. What helped you form that idea?
We have rhythms in so many others of life. At work. At home. With our hobbies. With our free time. Rhythms are the result of well-worn disciplines.
So I like to help groups start off developing a rhythm that promotes growth.
We gather weekly and party monthly. Because, well, for one, Jesus followers tend to be pretty boring people. Which is not reflective of the beautiful God we serve! I love what the Psalmist says:
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”3 The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. – Psalm 126:2-3
When our mouths are filled with laughter, others are convinced that God has done great things among us. And the flip-side must also be true. If our mouths aren’t filled with laughter, people become convinced that the God we serve isn’t good. That he doesn’t take delight in loving is people. That the God we proclaim as King is ultimately boring, and eternity will be a dull, lifeless “existence.” That’s not the story I want to tell.
So “partying monthly” is a vital rhythm of small group life.I’m an advocate for missional communities.
What do you wish you had included in the book?
Actually, there was a lot I wish I included. Which is why I wrote the bonus section. Just head over to SmallGroupBluePrint.com, and fill out the form, and we’ll send it on over to you. I’ve included some small group sign-up cards you can customize, the sermon-based curriculum that we use (that is also customizable), and some extra stuff that I didn’t have room for in the book. I’m excited to be giving that stuff away!
If you have any questions for Ben, he’ll be tracking them in the comments!