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Community: Taking Your Small Group off Life Support (Re:Lit) [Paperback]

Brad House
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 7, 2011 Re:Lit

Community within the church today is hemorrhaging. Attention spans are dwindling, noise levels are increasing, and we can't seem to find time for real relationships.

The answer to such social fragmentation can be found in small groups, and yet the majority of small groups—at least in the traditional sense—are often not the intentional, transformational community we really want and need. Somehow we need to get our groups off life support and into authentic community.

Pastor Brad House helps us to re-imagine what gospel-centered community looks like and shares from his experience leading and reproducing healthy small groups. With wisdom and candor, House challenges us to think carefully about our own groups and to take steps toward cultivating communities that are able to glorify Jesus, bless one another, and participate in the mission of God.

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Editorial Reviews


“I sincerely believe this book has the power to redefine small group ministry. With brilliance Brad unearths the theology behind micro-Christian communities, clarifies the role and realities of the gospel, and vividly describes the system, infrastructure, and strategy that Mars Hill has, through trial and error, found to be most effective. If your goal is to create gospel-centered small groups that make Jesus known on the streets, cul-de-sacs, and neighborhoods where God placed you to do ministry read this book, reflect on this book, and make it your guide for doing groups.”

Rick Howerton, author, Destination Community: Small-Group Ministry Manual

“In a rare combination Brad House bridges the biblical and theological underpinnings of small groups and presents practical ‘how-to's.’ He explains why smaller communities are imperative to the health of the individual and the church then goes on to explain from bottom to top how to make it work in your church. Free of clichés and stereotypes, Brad takes a fresh look at an ancient concept!”
Bill Search, Small Groups Pastor, Southeast Community Church; author, Simple Small Groups

“In the 20th century multitudes of churches grew through attractional evangelism and Sunday school classes on their property. In the 21st century newer and growing churches focus missionally on community groups not in educational buildings but in the homes of believers scattered in the neighborhoods all around a church's region. This is a good thing. Pastor Brad House has written a fantastic book to help conventional, transitional, and emerging churches to live out the gospel in community. Read your Bible, then read this, and then go reach your neighbors.”
Alvin L. Reid, Professor of Evangelism and Student Ministry, Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary


About the Author

Brad House serves as executive pastor of ministries at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of Community: Taking Your Small Groups off Life Support. He and his wife, Jill, have four children.

Product Details

  • Series: Re:Lit
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (September 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143352306X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433523069
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brad House is a pastor Sojourn Community Church, based in Louisville, where he is the Executive Pastor of Ministry. He is married to Jill House and has four children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Brad House is on staff at Mars Hill Church in Seattle - a church that is solid theologically, philosophically, and missionally. They are a church that is exceptional in theological depth and missional outreach in impacting their culture for the sake of Christ. The message of the gospel comes through loud and clear, and without compromise in both their corporate and communal contexts. In one of the least churched cities in America they have proven that what took place in the book of Acts, is still possible today - especially through the medium of the teaching of the Word and its balanced application within the context of community groups.

According to the author one study indicates that less than 18% of young evangelicals ages 18-23 participate in a small group, Bible study, or prayer group that is sponsored by their local churches. This book is not only written to combat this problem, but provides ample Biblical solutions and real life illustrations of how to build a solid foundation for building community groups that are healthy and result in personal, corporate, and communal life transformation via living out the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I highly recommend this book for the following types of people:

1) Senior Pastors - It will motivate you to launch community groups in your church and help you to be more strategic and missional in your ministries of in reach and outreach.
2) Existing Small Group Leaders and Participants - It will help give you ideas, tools, and applications that you have never thought of - in order to have a more effective, strategic, and balanced community group.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
'Community', with the bold subtitle "Taking your small group off life support" was written with a clear goal to do just that, however unpopular it may be. This book comes at a timely point in the Reformission movement where we have a bevy of churches, leaders and small group attendees who are tired of the old systems and methods of "community" that seem to be nothing more than an awkward social gathering, yet are unsure on how to cross into organic and truly gospel-made community.

The Foundation:

Community, broken into three major sections, starts out by laying a theological groundwork for community in the church. This first section does what it was written to do, which is remind the reader of the gospel and the gospel's communal implications, which is essential to building any foundation or vision because "A clear view of God puts life into perspective" (P.37). House uses a host of effective charts, graphs and diagrams to create a clear understand of the church's biblical call to community and the practice of that call. Community is able to successfully avoid being theoretic and successfully springboards into a healthy deconstruction of the current state of the social purgatory that is most churches "small groups ministry".

The Health Plan:

House gets to the root of the problem, which is, community has become an "event, rather than a lifestyle" (P.96-97). So House digs and digs and digs so much so that you will read this and hopefully feel some holy discontentment in this area. House talks about why non Christians do not and would not feel comfortable in the typical `small group' setting in the Church, and where we Christians have built barriers instead of bridges to the culture around us (p.128) by the way we do small group.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Need Community... October 10, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was privileged to get a copy of Brad House's book Community: Taking Your Small Group off Life Support (RE: Lit), the latest in the RE:LIT series. House serves as a pastor at Mars Hill Church, Seattle, where he oversees community groups for the multi-site church. For me, a good book is built on the basics of God's Word and filled with practicality, or what the foundational truth from God's Word should look like fleshed out.

The tension in a book on a particular facet of ministry is that while a broad cross section of evangelicalism may agree that something is important and even rooted in God's Word, we may disagree on its practice. I thought House did a great job of helping us see that what Mars Hill Church has chosen to do, how it has come out of Biblical conviction, but isn't meant to be replicated by every church. We are responsible, however, to flesh out community in our midst and this is the real strength of the book.

In Part 1, the foundation (or as he calls them, Building Blocks For Life) is unpacked. This lays some biblical footings for how the book will flesh itself out in the later chapters. Why do we need community? How did God create us for this and other truths.

Part 2, health plan, helps to lead us in a positive direction by helping us see the different facts of community that need to be considered. How should groups function, how often should they meet, where should they meet, what should they do? Are you getting a feel for the practical side yet?

Part 3, treatment, gives us ways to effect change in our groups. In other words, I'm given practical tools in this section to go about changing things from the way we've always done them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on small group mission
I liked the structure of the book:
- theology
- principles
- practice

It's brilliantly practical. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jac Adamo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Read, with powerful motivation to get things done.
Published 2 months ago by Tyrone
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening
I'm on a journey where my paradigm is shifting from a 1950's version of evangelism to a more contextualized version for this era. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Drmutts
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for anyone leading a small group or organizing a...
The writing of this book was inspired by the many who have inquired about the success of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wa ([... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tyler Trudeau
1.0 out of 5 stars Recycled Strategies and No Helpful Insights
Very disappointed this book didn't offer anything that hasn't already been marketed by the Christian Small Groups-Community marketplace the past 20+ years. Read more
Published 10 months ago by sinner
3.0 out of 5 stars Building a scaleable small group structure
Fairly helpful book on small group structure in the life of a church. Mostly aimed at larger churches, but applications can be made to churches of all sizes. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Joshua D. Reitano
4.0 out of 5 stars Very challenging book
I like that Brad House gives a mammoth vision, yet makes it accessible for anyone. I am at a small church in a small town, but I can already see the potential we have to affect our... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Lidgerwood
4.0 out of 5 stars We're using this book in our Community Group
I like it and it explains the reason for community groups very well and it seems to revive our group.
Published 13 months ago by Monique Myers
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
I thought the author was thorough, funny, and scriptural. I enjoyed reading this and it went by quick. It is a good addition to the library.
Published 14 months ago by Robert J. Nash
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what you're looking for...
Well written, explained and defended truth. A must for Church leadership and a great guide for moving the lay leadership in the right direction.
Published 15 months ago by T. Jennings
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