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Creating Community: Five Keys to Building a Small Group Culture (North Point Resources) Hardcover – December 31, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andy Stanley is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and the founding pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, with a youthful congregation of more than 16,000 on three campuses. Andy is the author of the 1998 ForeWord Book of the Year finalist Visioneering , the bestsellers Like a Rock and The Next Generation Leader, and the recent How Good Is Good Enough? Andy and his wife, Sandra, have two sons and a daughter.

Bill Willitts is the Director of Group Life at North Point Community Church. Bill is a graduate of Florida State University and Dallas Theological Seminary and has previously served on other church staffs in Atlanta and Dallas, Texas. His most important small group consists of his wife, Terry, and their daughter, Bailey.

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Product Details

  • Series: North Point Resources
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; 42171st edition (December 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590523962
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590523964
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Communicator, author, and pastor, ANDY STANLEY founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995. Today, NPM is comprised of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of 30 churches around the globe, collectively serving over 60,000 people weekly. A survey of U.S. pastors in Outreach Magazine identified Andy Stanley as one of the top 10 most influential living pastors in America.

The author of 20-plus books, including The New Rules of Love, Sex, and Dating, Ask It, How to Be Rich, Deep & Wide, Enemies of the Heart, When Work & Family Collide, Visioneering, and Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley holds two degrees, an undergraduate in journalism from Georgia State University and a Masters degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, the impact of which is all too evident in his written work.

In the digital world, his success reaches well beyond local Atlanta-area walls. Two million of Stanley's messages, leadership videos, and podcasts are accessed from North Point's website monthly.

In 2012, Your Move with Andy Stanley premiered on NBC after Saturday Night Live, giving him an even wider audience with which to share his culturally relevant, practical insight for life and leadership. In less than two years, over 36 million episodes have been viewed, underscoring Stanley's impact not only as a communicator but also as a cultural change agent.

But nothing is so personal as his passion for engaging with live audiences, which Stanley has pursued for over a decade, speaking at leadership events around the world. In high demand, he speaks at various events before a yearly audience of both church and organizational leaders of nearly 200,000, including conferences such as Catalyst, Leadercast, Exchange, and the WCA Global Leadership Summit.

"I cannot fill their cups," he often says of the opportunity to impact leaders in business and in ministry, "but I have a responsibility to empty mine."

Andy Stanley and his wife, Sandra, have three grown children and live near Atlanta.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first began reading Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits, I was not impressed. Subtitled "5 Keys to Building a Small Group Culture," the book makes its points by means of simply structured sentences, personal anecdotes, and common-sense business principles. As an "armchair intellectual" who prefers "idea" books to "application" books, I glided through the pages of Creating Community in about an hour. About half way through, I realized that Stanley and Willits were teaching simple principles that I needed to learn and apply in my own ministry. Although I never set out to become a small groups pastor, I have become one for my church. Unfortunately, to be perfectly honest, I do not consider myself a very good small groups pastor. Why? Because I prefer to sit among abstract ideas - the native environment of armchair intellectuals - rather than to walk beside practical realities. I am good at writing curriculum and at personally leading a small group, but I have a hard time managing people and processes. Stanley and Willits offered several helpful insights about how to do the latter. Let's start with the five keys mentioned in the subtitle. They are (1) people need community, (2) leaders need clarity, (3) churches need strategy, (4) connection needs simplicity, and (5) processes need reality.

People need community - especially Americans, whom George Gallup has described as "among the loneliest people in the world." This is somewhat ironic, given that Americans are around other people all the time. But having company is not the same thing has achieving community. "We live and work in a sea of humanity," the authors write, "but we end up missing out on the benefits of regular, meaningful relationships.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love the work that Andy Stanley and Bill Willits are doing with small groups at North Point Community Church in suburban Atlanta. I purchased this book with huge expectations. Though I was slightly disappointed, there are a lot of gems to be found in this work.

One initial complaint is the fact that Andy Stanley basically wrote an introduction to the book, and Bill Willits wrote the rest. I have no problem with that, as Willits is the small groups guru at their church. However, I think it's unfortunate that they felt the need to slap Stanley's name as a co-author, presumably for marketing purposes. In any case, this is Willits' book. And having heard him speak several times before, that's good enough for me. He may not have Stanley's name-recognition, but he is the small groups guy whom I respect the most.

The book is basically the story of small groups at North Point, starting at the beginning and bringing us to their current organizational structure. It's a pleasant, easy read, and Willits makes no claims that this is the universal "How-to" book for small groups. He admits, thankfully, that certain things will transfer to other churches, while other choices are specific to their situation. It's an insightful caveat.

Many of the ideas in this book are not new. The rationale for people's need for small groups is largely recycled material. If you want a more thorough "defense" of group life, read Donahue and Robinson's "Building a Church of Small Groups" or Frazee's "The Connecting Church."

However, the next several sections were filled with accessible and applicable points, even if many can be found in other small groups resources. North Point is basically doing two things that are totally different from the mainstream of small groupdom.
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Format: Hardcover
Most "How To" books run the risk of taking readers down one of two bumpy paths. Either the reader becomes excited and tries to obey the book right down to the "letter of the law" and ends up creating a mess. Or else the reader yawns, tosses the book in a growing stack with other "How To" books and doesn't create anything at all.

Some of the ideas in this book probably will not work anywhere outside of North Point Community Church. After all, the ideas were developed for this specific church, and even North Point continually revises its programs. Don't copy this book. It just won't work the same for you.

Other ideas are innovative and valuable. Small group ministry has been around since Jesus called his 12 disciples. John Wesley built the huge Methodist movement on the structural foundation of small group ministry. Pastors salivate at the thought of using effective small groups. The problem is that most small groups are not effective. They become in grown. They fail to divide in life as easily as they divide on paper. They wander from the point and degenerate into globs of protospirituality. This book presents ideas to help keep those terrible things from happening.

Wich ideas are which? Which ones should be overlooked at the present time and which are valuable? Look the book over. Use those portions that meet your needs and ignore the rest. Don't throw the book away. Given time, you may want to consult it again. Given the right time and right circumstance, all these ideas might be valuable!
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