A Novel Small Group

A Novel Small Group

Let's face it. Our small groups don't tend to attract non-Christians. Yet small groups can be effective for evangelism when they take a "halfway house" approach. Enter: the reading group. At your local secular bookstores, reading groups are a current fad.

How do you choose a book? Start with a great writer. Which great writer? Nonbelieving book lovers have long recognized the gifts of skilled Christian writers, so why not use that bridge to introduce them to the Gift-giver? Victor Hugo, G. K. Chesterton, and Annie Dillard are all Christians who are recognized as superb writers outside of the Christian subculture.

Here's how to get started:

Prayerfully choose a book you would not necessarily find at a Christian bookstore. Look for works by Flannery O'Connor, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, or other Christian writers of great literature.

Invite people to participate. Ask friends, coworkers, neighbors, and the guy at the bus stop who always seems to be reading.

Choose a neutral site for your meetings: a home, a room at work, a coffee shop, a bookstore.

Start your first meeting with a nonthreatening icebreaker. You might have members introduce themselves and cite their favorite author or book, taking a few minutes for each person to explain his or her choice.

Assign manageable portions each week. Read ahead and note good topics for discussion. Use open-ended questions such as "Which character do you most relate to, and why?"

Invite people to stay and continue the group when the first book is finished. The relationships that develop provide avenues for sharing Christ.

God has presents for the world that remain unopened and gathering dust on the shelves. You can be the person who offers this wonderful literature to the lost. C. S. Lewis put it this way: "You are not, in fact, going to read nothing&hellp; If you don't read good books, you will read bad ones."

Michael Sares - Copyright © 2009, Discipleship Journal, a publication of NavPress and The Navigators. All Rights Reserved.