Which book will help your small group best?
Looking to start a small group? Already have a group and looking to take it deeper in God? The Way has a couple books for you to consider:
Gordon MacDonald's Going Deep
Rick Warren's Better Together
Both of these books are about growing deeper in God and both offer insights into how to make your group the best it can be. Beyond that initial purpose, these two books are completely different. Each of these books has its pros and cons, but which is better suited for your small group and its development? Check out our brief analysis below and make your own decision:
Both of these books address the need for small groups and reveal the effectiveness of them.
Going Deep provides great insight into how a small group comes to be through its narrative style. However, the lack of conflict and challenges in the narrative leaves the reader without a truly realistic view of small groups and the challenges that come with them. As a result, an individual looking to start a small group could easily get discouraged if they only read this book before trying to get a small group started. This flaw takes away from the very thorough description of what it takes to statr a small group, which surpasses most others in terms of depth and detail.
Better Together does not provide the insights needed to starting a small group, but it does provide small groups new and old with quality material to get them growing deeper and more effective in their walk with God. It's devotions, while varying in depth, offer the group thoughtful ideas and suggestions to operating more effectively in God's Kingdom. If a group leader can keep the reigns on the potential rabbit trails, this 40 day devotional can take a small group to new depths in God.
Definitely buy Better Together if you are looking to get your small group more active and deeper involved in the Kingdom of God. It can also be used by churches across multiple ministries (i.e. youth, adult, young marrieds, etc.)
Consider getting Going Deep just for the detail they spend on starting the group. However, the actual group dynamic and development portrayed in the book is misleading in its ease of application in the real world.
To save everyone the trouble of parcing through the Compass page, I wanted to just load up all the old Activations here. #4 has already been posted. Hope you enjoy them and share these with your friends if you do.
Activation #1: Fear=Devotion
Proverbs 1:7 tells us "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge".
Did you know that the term fear here means devotion? It's respecting and revering God so much so that you become completely devoted to him. Therefore, the beginning of knowledge and wisdom is being completely devoted to God. We want to help you become more devoted to God. Try out this week's activation and see how it helps you:
Add one minute of prayer and Bible reading to your daily schedule each week this year.If you don't have a regular prayer and Bible reading schedule, start with one minute of each this week. Add another minute the second week to get to 2 minutes a day for prayer and reading the Bible. By the end of the year you will have added 52 minutes of prayer and Bible reading to your daily schedule
That's pretty Awesome.
Activation #2: Wisdom Wants to Celebrate!
Proverbs 1:20 1:1tells us "Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets."
Most people have looked at this scripture as the beginning of a warning. There's some pretty strong language in the rest of the chapter to back up that idea. However, did you know that the term crieth here means a joyful utterance? In fact, if we look at verses 21-24, we see that wisdom is looking for someone to join with her. She wants to pour out her spirit (her depth) and make known her words to those who will listen. That sounds like someone looking to connect. Wisdom-or the word of God and His form of reason-isn't angry but exasperated because nobody wants to celebrate and receive it. If we are to receive wisdom, we can't be holed up in our ignorance and worldliness. We have to be open and excited to receive what God has to say to us through His Word and through relationship with Him. Here's how we can do that:
Get excited about prayer and Bible reading time
Do this by looking for an uplifting scripture each day and praying it into your life
Pray for God to put excitement and joy into your life in general
Bring some joy and excitement to others with a smile and friendliness.
Activation #3: Wisdom is Precious
If thou seekest [wisdom] as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
We’ve examined the fear of the Lord as the beginning of knowledge and how it is devotion to God that leads us to wisdom. Here, we see that growing deeper in devotion and knowledge of God is tied to how we value wisdom. Here’s a challenge for this week to up the value of wisdom in your life:
Pick a time of day (10 minutes minimum)
Regardless of what else is going on, devote time during that time to God’s Word
Even if something comes up, don’t postpone God’s Word
See how setting a value on your time with God changes the world around you.
Whose Wisdom Are You Leaning On?
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
We learned about one of the benefits of wisdom last week. This week we will work on letting God be our guide in our search for wisdom. This scripture tells us exactly from where our wisdom needs to originate: God. If we are devoted to God and denying evil influences in our lives, we open ourselves to grow in wisdom.
We are also told to not trust in our own carnal wisdom. Just a couple scriptures earlier, we are told to trust in God with all of our heart (Proverbs 3:5). In Proverbs 3:6, we are told to acknowledge God in all our ways. When we put these three verses together, we see the importance of trusting in the Lord for all our decisions, even the daily ones we consider as routine. Try this activity to get our focus on God so we can grow greater in wisdom:
Check out this video below to get further perspective on this activation. It features a pretty awesome little lady:
We have a hype video for our upcoming series: Hunger and Thirst. Check it out below and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, check out the artwork for the series below.
Our first ever devotion series is now available for download for free. Learn the ins and outs of taking up the challenge to follow Christ and what it actually means. The material presented in this series is not from The Way book, but it works as a great supplement to the book.
The Climb Series
If you enjoy this series, feel free to share it with your friends and tell them to join us for future devotions.
P.S. All future devotions will be found on our new Compass page. Hopefully, this will allow for ease of access to all of The Way visitors and offer a place for us to easily connect with each other.
Our YouTube channel has a new video announcing some new changes to the website. We'll be editing the website through the end of next week and you can expect a more streamlined and more accessible website for all of our latest content. You can subscribe to our channel for the latest information by visiting our YouTube page. Hope you enjoy:
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
We’ve see that wisdom comes from devotion to God, is something we should be celebrating and it is to be cherished above all other things. Now we find out the benefit of these three approaches. When we have put wisdom in a place of importance, we get some benefits: discretion and understanding. They might not seem flashy at first, but these two things are hugely important. Discretion is also defined as purpose and understanding as insight. When wisdom becomes important to us, we will find our purpose in life and insight into attaining that purpose. These two things will keep us along the way. Try this exercise below and see what happens:
Write out what you think your purpose is in life
Continue to practice excited and committed devotion to God
See how your devotion with God alters or affects your perceived purpose
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.