There are a number of books that are useful in helping small group ministries get intentionally focused on making mature disciples of Jesus. Here are my top 10 books that could be game changers for a small group ministry. And hey, I acknowledge the bias upfront, because I co-wrote some of them (I am winking at you as I write that).
1. The Master Plan of Evangelism – Robert E. Coleman
This book is the gold standard defining Jesus-style disciple making. The book has been read by many millions, translated in over 112 languages, and influenced countless numbers of church leaders.
2. DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples – Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman
This books describes the five key shifts that leaders must make to move from a program-based church to a relational disciple making church. It is an essential read for church leaders, including those who lead a church’s small group system.
3. Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual – Putman, Willis, Guindon & Krause
This book provides both the framework and practical insights into how to shift a focus from nebulous purposes in a small group ministry to disciple making. It is an ideal training manual for small group leaders.
Disciple making happens in five relational contexts. This book will help you to identify the different contexts, the focus on disciple making in each of the contexts, and what must be done in each context.
5. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation – Peter Scazzero
The thesis of the book is piercing: We won’t take time to go deep down within because we have often been discipled into superficiality. Pete provides a paradigm that will lead to emotional health, which will automatically lead to growth in Christ-likeness.
6. Disciple Making Culture – Brandon Guindon
This is the best book I have read on how to create a disciple making culture in your church. Brandon is a practitioner who has experience in small group leadership, executive church leadership and then as a church planter.
This is a favorite on discipleship, by one of the world’s leading authorities. It began with the biblical foundation, to tell readers, “what is” discipleship. The unique characteristic of Jesus’ discipleship is elaborated. It’s the radical transformation of disciples. His popular four phases of discipleship are enlightening: come and see, come and follow me, come and be with me, and remain in me. The practical aspect of coaching and mentoring was given, from small groups, to congregations, to future generations.
8. Replicate: How to Create a Culture of Disciple Making Right Where You Are – Robby Gallaty, Chris Swain, et al.
Robby’s focus on the mission of Jesus (to make disciples, not coverts) has led to an ongoing movement that has influenced a whole denomination (Southern Baptist) and now churches of all kinds, globally. He is not just a preacher but a disciple-making practitioner—which gives him the most credibility.
9. The Disciple Makers Handbook: Seven Elements of a Discipleship Lifestyle – Bobby Harrington and Josh Patrick
This book presents a deep dive into the seven elements of a disciple maker’s lifestyle. It provides helpful information for those leading small groups on the key elements involved in what they are doing as leaders making disciples.
10. Making Disciples: Developing Lifelong Followers of Jesus – Ralph Moore and Ed Stetzer
This book by Ralph Moore is a very practical exposition by a leading practitioner. It is a great read for small group leaders who want a nuts-and-bolts overview of disciple making.
We hope and pray these books are a blessing to you and your ministry in 2022 and that God richly blesses the kingdom through your work this year!
For King Jesus,
The Discipleship.org Team