Group Study Resources 2021-2022

How to use this guide: 

Studying Scripture and Christian teaching in community is a needed element in our personal transformation and how groups become closer relationally and stronger spiritually.

Truth is, it takes more than the selection of a study. Healthy groups are creating an environment to learn content, to glean from one another, to be curious and wonder, and to search and pray. We pray that each of our groups has a vibrant spiritual culture where the Holy Spirit is invited to be at work.

Further, changing up the “medium” of study is an important factor in leading effective studies. Meaning, one series could be a book study, another could be video based, another could be curriculum based, another could be the inductive Bible study guides. You will want to change the medium, and consider rotating teachers, if those gifts exist in your group.

Our vision for group life is “people who gather in community practicing the way of Jesus.” Our resource list reflects three core values of group life that we believe cultivates practicing the way of Jesus. These include: Spiritual Formation, Missional Living, and Strengthening Relationships.

Most of these studies require minimum financial purchase; our video-based ones from RightNow Media only require a free account that you can set-up here. 

Discussing COVID as a Group


Reopening Christianity - Zach Zehnder

Right Now Media - 5 Video Sessions - 11 mins each - Free Discussion Guide

Why We’re Recommending It:

It's among the questions that many are asking - When will everything be re-opened? What will it look like? When will it finally be over? In this resource Zach asks 5 questions for us to consider as we continue to move through the pandemic, including "Am I moving forward or backward?," "Am I a consumer or contributor?," and "Am I known for what I'm for or against?" 

One of the best aspects of small group life is being able to process the tensions and challenges around us, learn Scriptural and Christian principles to grow together and to be a blessing to those around us. Reopening Christianity is an excellent resource in this time. 


Overcoming Anxiety During COVID 19 - Jonathan Pokluda

Why We’re Recommending It:

In this four-part series, Jonathan Pokluda speaks words of comfort and wisdom, to help Christians navigate the areas of life COVID-19 is affecting. Each video is less than 10 minutes long and topics include anxiety about the economy, isolation, and when the church can’t meet in person. This resource includes a free PDF Study Guide.


God and the Pandemic - NT Wright

E-Book or Print Book available at Christianbook.

Free Study Guide available at https://www.godandthepandemic.com

Why We’re Recommending It:

Not only does Wright give wise and insightful perspective in this incredible pandemic but his thoughtful yet accessible expositions for students of Scripture. Wright wisely navigates between the panic, the political rhetoric, as well as the downplaying and over-spiritualizing of this COVID moment. Readers are left with a fresh understanding of how God is at work even right now.


The Art of Neighboring - Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon

Why We’re Recommending It:

Under Stay-at-Home, not only have we had more time inside our home but also more time in our neighborhood which means we have more opportunities to connect with our neighbors. This is a four-session series based on the book The Art of to help us focus on the people within our neighborhood and learn what it means to be a good neighbor.  Some might remember that Grace Chapel featured this book in last summer’s sermon series on neighboring.

Jay Pathhak and Dave Runyon ask, “What would our communities look like if we took Jesus’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves seriously?”


Racial Justice and Anti-Racism Resources

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation - Latasha Morrison

“In this perspective-shifting book, founder Latasha Morrison shows how you can participate in this incredible work and replicate it in your own community. With conviction and grace, she examines the historical complexities of racism. She expertly applies biblical principles, such as lamentation, confession, and forgiveness, to lay the framework for restoration….”

Why We’re Recommending It: About 500 people at Grace engaged in reading and discussing Be the Bridge and a major piece of feedback was to offer it again. Latasha hosts a Biblical, personal, and societally-appropriate starting point for group conversation and self-reflection.


The Color of Compromise - Jemar Tisby

Video Series (accompanying book and discussion guides are available) - 12 Sessions -  average video 20 mins in length

 “Tisby provides a unique survey of American Christianity's racial past, revealing the concrete and chilling ways people of faith have worked against racial justice. Understanding our racial history sets the stage for solutions, but until we understand the depth of the malady we won't fully embrace the aggressive treatment it requires.” Read more here.

Why We’re Recommending It: For those groups who want to tackle the complicated history of race in America and in the Church, Tisby covers a lot of helpful ground. Listening to another’s history is one of the steps we can take to understand, dialogue, and act.


Trouble I've Seen - Changing the Way the Church Views Racism - Drew Hart

“In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-black stereotypes, poverty, and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. He argues that white Christians have repeatedly gotten it wrong about race because dominant culture and white privilege have so thoroughly shaped their assumptions. He also challenges black Christians about neglecting the most vulnerable in their own communities. Leading readers toward Jesus, Hart offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice. What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins?”

Why We’re Recommending It: Having attended seminary at the same time as Drew and interacted with him over the years, I know his heart, trust his integrity, and have learned so much regarding race, Christianity, and the American church today. Further, the book is timely, personal and well-researched. Even if I didn’t know Drew, I would have gained so much from it. - (Pastor Tim Ghali)

Free downloadable study guide available here. 

Beyond Colorblind: Redeeming Our Ethnic Journey - Sarah Shin

“For a generation or so, society has tried to be colorblind. People say they don’t see race. But this approach has limitations. In our broken world, ethnicity and racial identity are often points of pain and injustice. We can’t ignore that God created us with our ethnic identities. We bring all of who we are, including our ethnicity and cultural background, to our identity and work as God's ambassadors. Ethnicity and evangelism specialist Sarah Shin reveals how our brokenness around ethnicity can be restored and redeemed, for our own wholeness and also for the good of others. When we experience internal transformation in our ethnic journeys, God propels us outward in a reconciling witness to the world.”

Why We’re Recommending It: Sarah’s writing on ethnicity is on-point and insightful, and will be paradigm-changing for many. We also loved the talk she gave at Q.


Strengthening Relationships


 

Sacred Parenting - Gary Thomas

Right Now Media - 6 sessions - average length 20 minutes - workbook available.

“In this six-session video-based small group bible study, Gary Thomas uses a unique lens to look at parenting, moving beyond raising great children to becoming more holy as a person.” 

Why We’re Recommending It:                                                   

Truly a deeply moving resource on parenting through the lens of spiritual formation. Gary Thomas teaches the heart and hands of being a father and mother and anchors the teaching by reminding the viewer that parenting is a sacred calling.


Building Successful Relationships - Michael & Laura Fletcher

7 Video Sessions available here - 7 mins in length each. Book available for purchase, Free Study Guide available.

In Building Successful Relationships, Michael Fletcher gives seven practical keys that will help build strong relationships throughout every area of life. He shows the central issue in every relationship is the hearts of those involved. When the seven principles are applied, you will begin to see your heart and the hearts of those around you grow closer to one another. This series will enable you to see an increased level of intimacy in your existing relationships, help you develop new relationships, or repair a damaged relationship from your past.”  

Why We’re Recommending It: This video series hit the right notes when it came to building and strengthening relationships. Not only do we desire to grow in strengthening relationships within our groups but in all the various points of life from family to work to community. Group members will find both new insight as well as find reinforcement in relational values that should be revisited. 


Spiritual Formation

 

God in my Everything - How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God - Ken Shigematsu

Book Available on Amazon

Why We’re Recommending It:

For those groups needing a break from video and want to take the time to read and discuss spiritual formation in the busyness of life, this is an excellent place to start. Ken is both highly relatable and deeply spiritually insightful. He's also spent time living in the Boston area and is intimately familiar with our own frenetic speed of life and New England culture (we are in his illustrations :). 15 Chapters/200 pages


Rhythms of Renewal- Rebekah Lyons

Options Include: 9 minute video on Q Media* - Book to read with accompanying 5 session study guide

Why We’re Recommending It:

In a year of focusing on our rhythms of life, we would do well to receive Rebekah Lyons' teaching and listening to her personal experience of fighting panic attacks, raising a family, and co-leading a non-profit ministry. Life was full and stressful and growing in what she calls "Rhythms of Renewal" became a foundation to rebuild her and her family's life around. Rebekah speaks and writes with great wisdom and practicality and we highly recommend this resource. Please contact Pastor Tim to create your own Q Media account.


24/6 - A Prescription for a Happier, Healthier Life - Matthew Sleeth

Read the Book or Watch 4 Sessions on Right Now Media video  (each is under 12mins.  We also have a few physical DVD's and a few paperbacks for those interested.)

Why We’re Recommending It:

Our fall series will focus on healthy rhythms and the relationship between work and rest is often a difficult one for us to figure out. Most feel their lives are too busy to participate in a form of Sabbath. But it's often the busiest of us that need to practice the Sabbath the most. Sleeth's teaching has been helpful to many and it may be exactly what your group is looking for


Missional Living

Redeeming Work - Andy Crouch

6 sessions - 20 min. videos

Your work matters.

You spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (or more!) there. It's what you talk about at parties. It's how you introduce yourself. It's where you met a lot of your friends. It might even be the reason you live where you live. Our jobs often dictate the circumstances and rhythms of our lives. So why does Monday morning feel so far from Sunday morning? For many Christians, there is a significant gap between work and faith. The two simply feel unrelated.

Why We're Recommending It: Love that it's 6-sessions with Andy Crouch and other brilliant minds including Katelyn Beaty, and Skye Jethani and interviews with Timothy Keller, Chris Brooks, Amy Sherman, James K.A. Smith, Katherine Leary Alsdorf, Kate Harris, and Corey Widmer are included. Their goal was to provide daily reflection on how faith and work connect and how to see career as part of your missional life. 


Love Over Fear: Loving Monsters, Befriending Enemies in a Polarized World - Dan White

(Book and free group discussion content)

Why We’re Recommending It:

In this tense election year, Christ-followers could use some perspective on moving through the polarization and societal tension. Sadly, so much of our discourse has become toxic and painful but it doesn’t have to be that way. Author Dan White Jr. believes this is an opportunity for the church to give our culture a much-needed example and identifies the need for love in our culture that has become fearful and angry towards their ideological rivals. This resource was used by a few groups last year and feedback was encouraging. You can find the book at Amazon or Christian Books.


What is Q Media and Why We're Recommending It: 

Think of it as a mini-Netflix channel for our cultural conversations informed largely by a Christian viewpoint. Q Ideas gathers communicators and leaders around the challenging topics in our society.

We believe groups can be a place for us to learn new ideas, respectfully share our perspectives and be challenged by the convictions of others.

This is an incredible resource for groups that want to be stretched and inspired by the hundreds of talks in the Q Library on topics ranging from race, technology, Millennials, and the “common good.”

Groups can stream the content on a smart-tv, handheld device. Q Talks are TED Talk style and are either 9 or 18 minutes long and each talk has a set of discussion questions on its talk page.

We would love to set you up with your account, please contact Pastor Tim Ghali or Pastor Rachel Keeler.


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