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Making Small Groups Work: What Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know Paperback – August 12, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310250285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310250289
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Lead small groups through astounding growth with principles from the best-selling books How People Grow and Boundaries

No matter what need brings a group of people together—from marriage enrichment to divorce recovery, from grief recovery to spiritual formation—members are part of a small group because they want to grow. This book by psychologists Henry Cloud and John Townsend provides small-group leaders with valuable guidance and information on how they can help their groups to grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

With insights from their best-selling book How People Grow, Cloud and Townsend show how God’s plan for growth is made up of three key elements: grace plus truth plus time. When groups embrace those elements, they find God’s grace and forgiveness and learn how to handle their imperfections without shame as they model God’s love and support to one another.

In addition to describing what makes small groups work, Leading Small Groups That Help People Grow explains the roles and responsibilities of both leaders and group members. Employing tenets from the book How People Grow, this book equips leaders to understand the ins and outs of how to promote growth, and using principles from their best-selling book Boundaries, they show how to identify and find solutions for common problems such as boredom, noncompliance, passivity, aggression, narcissism, spiritualization, over-neediness, over-giving, and nonstop talking.

About the Author

Dr. Henry Cloud is a popular speaker, and co-host, with Dr. John Townsend, of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! Radio program, and cofounder of Cloud-Townsend Clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. His bestselling books include the Gold Medallion Award-winning Boundaries books and Making Small Groups Work. Dr. Cloud and his wife and two daughters live in Southern California.

Dr. John Townsend is a psychologist, popular speaker, and cohost of the nationally broadcast New Life Live! radio program, and a cofounder of Cloud-Townsend clinic and Cloud-Townsend Resources. He has written or co-written 27 books, selling over six million copies, including the bestseller Boundaries.  He is also the author of Boundaries with Teens and Hiding from Love. He and his wife, Barbi, live in southern California. They have two grown sons.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
If you lead a small group this is a big help!
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have written a book that every small groups leader/pastor can benefit from reading: Making Small Groups Work.
Heather Zempel
Gave practical and helpful insight and direction.
Beverly H. Keller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By R. Martin on May 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was not what I was looking for in regards to small groups. It seemed mostly about "support groups". By this I mean small groups where the focus is specifically about a certain area of needed support: divorce recovery, parenting teenagers, addiction recovery, etc. Because "support" seemed to be the focus, there was a lot of valuable info about leading a group where there will be a lot of personal sharing. There were practical ideas for setting group boundaries, dealing with "problem" participants (overly needy, too talkative...) and other issues when you are guiding a support group.

However, I was looking more for info about leading small group Bible study groups - where the focus is more on learning, study, and spiritual growth. And not specifically "support". I guess I was looking more for ideas on how to create a interactive learning environment with adults. Although I got a handful of helpful ideas from this book, it did not give me the guidance and ideas I was hoping for in this regard.

I give it 4 stars because it is a great guide if you are leading a support group. I think the title of the book should be changed to "Making support groups work". To me, there is a difference between a traditional small group and a support group..... I mean, I know that in ANY type of small group you want to foster close relationships where people can share. But I wasn't looking for "support" as being the PRIMARY focus of my group. Rather a secondary focus as we study the Bible.

I am not sure I have expressed myself the most clearly, but those are my thoughts.
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37 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on August 5, 2006
Format: Audio Cassette
I bought the unabridged audiotape version of this book, hoping to utilize some significant portions of road-trip time to learn more for my leadership role with our church's small group ministry. Though not normally a Cloud/Townsend fan, I was pleased to hear them introduce the book by indicating that they would discuss two questions that all church leaders are asking: how do we find more small group leaders and how do we train them. They proceeded to spend the next eight hours completely ignoring those key questions. I only wish they would have answered them.

Instead of offering strategic, visionary, thought-provoking advice for ministry leaders and small group leaders, Cloud and Townsend rambled on about how to deal with people's feelings and emotions. This type of book is exactly why I generally avoid books written by Christian counselors. I couldn't begin to count the number of times that they referred to feelings and emotions. While I know that emotional understanding is important to leading people in groups, there is so much more to it. I agree with an earlier reviewer who suggested that this book is primarily geared toward leading support groups. While important, that is only one type of legitimate group within the church. The title of this book presumes to be too broadly applicable, when their focus is very narrow.

I was also annoyed by their insistence on using the word "facilitator," rather than "leader." I think that every lousy group that I've attended resulted from the mindset of the leader that they wanted to facilitate and not lead. What groups need is passionate, committed, and competent leadership, not just facilitators.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Heather Zempel on August 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have written a book that every small groups leader/pastor can benefit from reading: Making Small Groups Work. It's been sitting on my shelf for 2 years, and I finally read it!

The book focuses on basic principles of spiritual and relational growth, group structure, discussion facilitation, and the creation of safe growth environments. Thus, the book is applicable and relevant to leaders of any small group regardless of the type or model of small groups the church has established.

The books is divided into six sections, and each section consists of several short chapters:

1. How Small Groups Help People Grow
2. What Happens in a Good Group
3. Starting a Small Group
4. The Resonsibilities of Group Facilitators
5. The Responsibilities of Group Members
6. How to Deal with Problems in Groups

Each chapter is very practical, readable, and short. The authors make great use of bullet points and lists to narrow the focus of the topic they are targeting. Because of the arrangement of the chapters, the book also serves well as a quick reference guide. The authors include excellent examples of "role playing" and "scripts" to assist a leader in finding the right words to communicate the points they are illustrating. Their challenge to "guard the process" serves as a foundation for the entire book.

I especially like the fact that they have dedicated an entire section of chapters to the responsibilities of group members. I spend a lot of time training leaders on their responsibilities, but I rarely address the expectations for groups members. This is an area in which we should try to grow at National Community Church.
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More About the Author

Dr. Cloud is a leadership consultant, best-selling author, and speaker whose books have sold well over 5 million copies. He consults and speaks for companies and organizations in the area of leadership and performance, and is highly regarded for his ability to connect personal and interpersonal development with the needs of business.
He is a clinical psychologist and leadership consultant with a unique ability to connect with audiences. Drawing upon his broad range of experiences in private practice, leadership consulting, and media, he simplifies life's issues and gives easy to understand, practical advice. It's Dr. Cloud's humor, compassion and "in the moment" confrontation that make his approach to psychology, business and spirituality such a success.
Dr. Cloud has written, or co-written, more than twenty books, including the two-million-seller Boundaries and his most recent books, Necessary Endings, Integrity, The One Life Solution, The Law of Happiness and 9 Things You Simply Must Do. His books have sold over five million copies. His works have been reviewed and featured by such publications as The New York Times, The Wall St. Journal, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and many others. Dr. Cloud co-hosts the nationally syndicated radio program New Life Live, which is heard in over 180 markets.
As a speaker, he is a favorite at corporate events, conventions, and public arena events on a variety of topics, speaking regularly through the U.S. and internationally.
In his consulting practice, he works with leaders in a wide range of organizations and corporations, from family help firms to Fortune 25 and Fortune 500 companies. He has an extensive executive coaching background and experience as an organizational and leadership consultant, spending the majority of his hands-on time with CEOs and executive teams.
Dr. Cloud founded and built a health care company which operated treatment centers in forty markets in the Western U.S. for which he served as Clinical Director for ten years. In that context of hands-on clinical experience, he developed and researched many of the treatment principles and methods that he communicates to audiences now. After selling the company, he devoted his time to consulting and coaching, spreading principles of hope and life-change through speaking, writing and media.
He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, earning a B.S. in psychology with honors. He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Biola University, and his clinical internship at Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. His philanthropic interests lie in the area of homelessness and the inner city, as well as missions in the developing world. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Tori, and their two daughters, Olivia and Lucy.

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Making Small Groups Work: What Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know
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