In keeping with my goal of reading a book a month, I count this one even though technically I used this book to lead small groups. Actually, I read this more thoroughly than other books and marked it up quite a bit because I had to internalize it in order to lead a discussion on it. It’s a book made for group discussions.

The Gospel-Centered Community by Robert Thune & Will Walker was recommended to me by Pastor H. He hasn’t read this one, but he likes the writings of Thune. I have to be honest, I didn’t love this study guide. I only used it loosely for my groups.

To be fair, I didn’t use it completely. I didn’t give participants each a book. I merely read the material and led the discussion. If I had thought it was good enough, I would’ve bought a book for each person, but I didn’t think it was worth it.

The topics are good, and the concepts presented are fine. In the attempt to make this “practical”, there are exercises we are suppose to do together. This is where I found impractical. Maybe in my context I didn’t think it’d work. For example, the chapter on How the Gospel Shapes Community, the exercise is to have communal prayer and worship. We are to read some Psalms and scriptures together, and confess our sin and idolatry. Perhaps this would be a good experience for a small small group like 3-4 people, but anything over that is awkward to have deep open confession.

Overall, the book gave useful background and understanding of what a gospel-centered community would look like, but I didn’t think it’s that great of a study guide. I’m sure the authors’ other material on community is better.

 

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