This book is an absolute necessity in a small group leader’s library. There have been so many books written on leading small groups/ house groups, but Saer seems to have been able to condense the major themes and problems in leading house groups in to this volume. His experience goes before him, and he has seen many examples of both good and bad lead groups. This review is to give a taste of his nectar, which is simple and beautiful for a light read; and for anyone who wants to invest in getting it.
A bit about the author: Orlando Saer is a senior pastor of Cranleigh Baptist Church of Surrey. He has been involved with leading small groups and training other leaders for almost twenty years. He was a former teacher, and he has a family.
In his book he has 6 main chapters and they are very close and concise. They are:
1. Why small group bible studies?
2. Preparing for leadership
3. Managing the group
4. Mapping out the study
5. Leading the meeting
6. Prayer, care and personal nurture.
1. Why Small groups?
He talks about the purpose of the small groups and he sums it up in to 4 points: 1: A good place to listen to God: each can help the other study the Bible. 2: A good place to talk to God, each can pray for the others in an informed way.3: A good place to care for one another; each can carry the others’ burdens. 4: A good place from which to reach the lost: members can work together to advance the gospel. His emphasis is that ‘It’s not a social club!!!!’
2. Prepare leaders
He is making a general prospectus on what a leader of a small group should look like. He shows that you don’t need to be a genius to lead one, but someone who can organise and follow the scriptures precisely. He says that the best leaders are those who have a ‘proven record of practical godliness and doctrinal orthodoxy’. They also have to set goals for others involved, and to understand the wrong motivation and misconceptions to be a leader.
This chapter has a great application of structure to show how a small group goes from ‘taking off’ to ‘landing’. He is trying to show the pros and cons of how a small group can go. It is a very helpful and graphical chapter for you to incorporate in a small group.
4. Mapping out the study
This chapter is the longest for a reason. It contains the structure to prepare a bible study. There are several graphical ideas in planning and conducting a meeting that you can use, and he emphases the great ways in leading a discussion; and the answers for problems. He is demonstrating how to make a passage that seems unrelated to the people in the group, in a way that it becomes relevant to them today. It’s a really good practical chapter
It’s about how to lead the meeting. It talks about deflective measures, and focused approaches to the passage, and how not to get carried away in a meeting. It’s very important to understand the way how to lead a study and to make it great!
6. Prayer, care, nurturing
This talks about the moment in a meeting when someone brings up a problem or a prayer request. It will help you to be focussed on the prayer and nurture time in regards to the meeting, and to see if it is appropriate for them to talk about it in the meeting or privately.
There is also an evaluation sheet in the back to allow you to assess how your meeting goes!!
It’s a great book, and it’s a must if you want to set up/ lead a small group!