John Vlainic recently shared the following on the FMCiC pastors’ email list. These are resources worth looking at if you are starting a small group in the new year.
A pastor friend mentioned that he was working on finding really good books which might be used by small groups which meet in homes.
So I told him I would send him some material on books by an exceptionally good author, James Bryan Smith, who studied with Richard Foster and Dallas Willard.
Among Smith’s many writings are an « Apprentice Series ».
Here is what leading evangelical theologian Scot McKnight recently wrote about Smith:
« James Bryan Smith, whom I consider one of North America’s leading voices on spiritual formation, directs The Apprentice Institute in Wichita KS and his program is connected to Northern Seminary’s DMin program in spiritual formation. I have myself participated in their program for three years and I come away blessed each time.
James Bryan Smith’s trilogy — The Great and Beautiful series — is followed in the way only James Bryan Smith can write, in the Magnificent series. These are books for groups and for Sunday School classes as well as for individuals. They only come to light after each chapter has been used by groups, improved through discussion, and then finally edited into fine shape.
I consider this series to be the best series I know for spiritual formation. »
APPRENTICE BOOKS AND STUDIES BY JAMES BRYAN SMITH:
The Good and Beautiful Community — Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love
The Good and Beautiful God — Falling in Love With the God Jesus Knows
The Good and Beautiful Life — Putting on the Character of Christ
The Kingdom and The Cross
The Magnificent Journey
The Magnificent Story — Uncovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness & Truth
These resources can be found at a number of online retailers.