M. SCOTT BOREN (Baker, 186 pp., paperback)
In an era of how-to books, Scott Boren has penned a relevant why-to book. He presents a sound biblical and theological basis for participating in a small group. His use of the term missional along with its definition and application to small groups is apropos. Boren believes there are three basic categories that most groups fall into: personal improvement, lifestyle adjustment, and relational revision. His argument as to which group setting is most missional is viable and persuasive.
His focus throughout the book is not about doing another meeting, but being in each other’s lives. He encourages the reader to make small groups part of the rhythm of life, not just an addition to an already over-crowed calendar. To do this Boren describes three rhythms: Missional Communion, Missional Relating, and Missional Engagement. Within the setting of these rhythms there are 21 practices that help create small-group life. The author, however, does not complicate things by telling the reader the how-to steps to accomplish these practices.
His last chapter focuses on missional leadership for small groups. Boren does not add anything new to the topic of leadership, but the author is on point in his description and function of the small-group leader.
For those looking for a good starter book or a refresher on small groups, this is an essential read.
Reviewed by Jim Risner, M.Div., small-group coach, Central Assembly of God, Springfield, Missouri.