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Walking the Small Group Tightrope: Meeting the Challenges Every Group Faces Paperback – October 12, 2003


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Walking the Small Group Tightrope: Meeting the Challenges Every Group Faces + Making Small Groups Work: What Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know + Leading Life-Changing Small Groups (Groups that Grow)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 3rd Printing edition (October 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310252296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310252290
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Six Ways to Improve Your Balance as a Group Leader

Leading a successful small group is like walking a tightrope. You traverse a taut, exciting line, balancing the dynamic tensions characteristic of every group. Drawing from the concept of "polarity management," Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson help you understand and deal with six dynamic areas every group leader must manage in order to create genuine, transforming small group community.

Your group is in for unprecedented connection and growth when you harness the interplay between • Truth and Life • Care and Discipleship • Friendship and Accountability • Kindness and Confrontation • Task and People • Openness and Intimacy

Effective, life-giving small groups learn how to embrace both ends of each continuum. Walking the Small Group Tightrope will strengthen your sense of balance, help you gain confidence as a leader, and show you how to release the untapped creative and relational energy in your group.

About the Author

Dr. Bill Donahue is the author of the bestselling Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, Building a Life-Changing Small Groups Ministy (with Russ Robinson), Coaching Life-Changing Leaders (with Greg Bowman), and the Equipping Life-Changing Small Groups DVD.



Russ Robinson, formerly executive director of small groups at Willow Creek and senior pastor of Meadowbrook Church in North Haledon, New Jersey, is coauthor with Bill Donahue of The Seven Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry. He continues to speak and write while practicing law in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joycelyn on April 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Before I opened Walking the Small Group Tightrope, I feared another formula for "how to do small groups." But Donahue and Robinson provide fresh insight into the realistic tensions of small groups. Through their experiences, they share failures and successes.
Donahue and Robinson claim, "Each chapter will identify the challenge, define the inherent dynamics of the tension, describe what happens when groups lean too far toward one end of the continuum, and offer suggestions and tools so leaders can help their groups manage these polarities." The hope: leaders gain the skill to walk that tightrope. Overall, they fulfill their promise.
The authors, experienced pastors of small group ministries, who've overseen thousands of groups, studied their failures as small group leaders. Through these failures, they identified six challenges. Each chapter of this book defines one of the six challenges. And every challenge presents two tensions, creating the ends of the tightrope. For example, "the learning challenge" creates the tensions of truth and life. The other tensions consist of care and discipleship, friendship and accountability, kindness and confrontation, task and people, openness and intimacy. Small group leaders must find the balance between the two polar extremes. A target in the middle of the tightrope balances the continuum and gives the leader an aim. Tools and suggestions facilitate next steps.
The identification of the six challenges, definitions of the tensions, examples of the polar extremes and tools assist in management of these tensions. The real life stories and the honesty engage the reader. The authors reveal real struggles of small group ministry without pat answers. They give insight into identifying group challenges as well as ways to spot where the reader's small group walks on that tightrope continuum.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jan H on March 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for all leaders of church small groups. It is not the usual "how to" book on small groups, but rather has great tools on how to improve group dynamics. Anyone who has led a small group for sometime will readily identify with the group tensions that are presented. It will be encouraging to all leaders to know that they do not need to "fix" the problems of their groups as much as just bringing opposing tensions into balance. There is even an important section included at the back of the book to work through these group dynamics with your own group and let them take ownership for creating a healthier group.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Follower on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Tightrope" was a lifeline as our 350 member church approached the launch of our small groups ministry after 18 months of intense study and preparation. It artfully provides the reality that every aspect of small group life involves competing worthy goals ie: caring vs Bible knowledge. Which deserves more time? How to decide? Have I even considered the goal opposite the one to which I'm dedicated? Are you even aware of the 12 goals? They are intuitive once you've read about them. The opposing goals are the anchors of each 'tightrope' and we leaders determine how close to or how far from each extreme we are. AND the balance point shifts depending on the group life at that heartbeat. Wow. A new leader, convinced she could not possibly BE a leader, read "Tightrope" and said, "Oh. Now I get it. I can do this!" Truly, this book can make an 'Ah Ha!' difference in small group stewardship. Again, thank you, Willow.
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