Small-Group Studies for Building Generous Disciples
By Ken Sloane
With our mission of making faithful and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ alongside the ongoing challenge of funding the church’s mission and ministry, churches (maybe yours) might consider a small-group study on the themes of stewardship and generosity. Here are some ideas, just in case your church is looking.
Defying Gravity: Break Free from the Culture of More
by Tom Berlin (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016), ISBN9781501868115.
Tom Berlin has written an excellent study for churches on what he calls the “culture of more” – the bombardment of cultural pressure to convince us that what we have is not enough. Berlin notes that the stuff we accumulate in our lives weighs us down and deprives us of the joyous soaring God intends for us. Part of a larger campaign package, these four chapters will provide excellent discussion material for a small-group study.
Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity
by Adam Hamilton (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2018, updated), ISBN: 9781426742071.
Adam Hamilton’s original study written in 2009 came from a preaching series Hamilton prepared when, in the midst of the 2008 recession, he realized how many members of this congregation were living beyond their means, convinced that the American dream of bigger and better was driving their economic and other life choices. The 2018 revised edition has been updated with new insights and reflections on the impact of the study in the past decade.
The Generosity Challenge: 28 Days of Gratitude, Prayer, and Faith
by Scott McKenzie & Kristine Miller (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2019), ISBN: 9781501882753.
The Generosity Challenge is 28-day exploration of the theme of generosity, organized into four weeks with workbook exercises for reflection and writing for each day. A small group will easily find fruitful discussion, support, and accountability for people seeking to grow in this aspect of their discipleship.
God vs Money: Winning Strategies in the Combat Zone
by C. Clif Christopher (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2018), ISBN: 9781501868115.
This six-session study of Clif Christopher’s book, God vs. Money may be used for building congregational awareness of stewardship and generosity, or it could be incorporated into a yearlong church plan. That plan would focus on the church’s unique context and mission and help congregants release their materialistic worship of money. The goal is to lead the church family into deeper discipleship with a sharper and more consistent focus on God. The plan your church may develop through this study may indeed empower the congregation to transform more lives and to live more fully its God-designed purpose.
The Gratitude Path
by Kent Millard (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2015), ISBN: 978-1630883195.
The Gratitude Path is a five-session study designed for churches, leadership teams, and small groups. The step-by-step guide helps people grow in generosity by focusing on gratitude for God’s blessings. Each of six chapters concludes with questions for personal reflection and devotion. The study also includes a twelve-step campaign for pastors and other leaders to successfully conduct their own gratitude campaign in a church of any size or denomination.
Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.