Field Guide for Small Group Leaders

Field Guide for Small Group Leaders

Setting the Tone, Accommodating Learning Styles and More

by Sam O'Neal

Field Guide for Small Group Leaders
  • Length: 216 pages
  • Published: March 22, 2012
  •  In stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-1091-8
  • Item Code: 1091
  • Case Quantity: 44

There are countless helpful resources available to the small group leader. As managing editor of, Sam O'Neal has seen the best of them come and go. They tend to deal with the big vision of small groups--how they can revolutionize your church and transform your congregation. Or they consider the big idea of small group ministry, how it reflects God's communal vision for us. But sometimes a small group leader just wants to know how to survive the next meeting--not how to instruct and correct or shock and awe, but simply how to set the table for a life-changing encounter with God.

The Field Guide for Small Group Leaders focuses in on the small group gathering as spiritual event. Useful to newly minted leaders and as a ready resource for small group experts, this go-to guide helps leaders prepare themselves to prepare their groups for the adventure of a collective encounter with a great God.

"As a writer and thinker, Sam O'Neal understands the big-picture theological foundations for community. As a small group leader, Sam knows how to lead a small group for real people. In this work, he provides practical help to small group leaders. His work is a great tool for leaders."

Eric Geiger, coauthor of Simple Church

"I've always felt that leading a small group is more art than science, more organic than mechanical. But you can't ignore the mechanics, and even art has underlying tips and techniques, which, if mastered, enhance the authenticity of the medium. Samuel O'Neal's Field Guide for Small Group Leaders provides many such techniques as practiced by a master artist. His application of learning styles alone has already improved my own group leadership."

Dave Treat, small group consultant and trainer,

"With the dizzying array of methods and models for small groups out there, who couldn't use a little help navigating the landscape? I can't think of a better guide than Sam O'Neal. Sam knows small groups. He's participated in them, led them and studied them. Field Guide for Small Group Leaders is the perfect primer on the subject. With clean, engaging prose, Sam clears the fog surrounding the topic and delivers advice for small group leaders that is both practical and biblical. Pastors, make sure your small group leaders don't head into their next meetings without this valuable resource in hand."

Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal and author of Generation Ex-Christian

"Whether we are first-time small group leaders or seasoned disciple-makers, we all need some guidance and direction along the way. Sam O'Neal has walked the path of small groups and now serves as a tour guide for those who wish to join in the adventure of leadership. With practical tips and refreshing honesty, O'Neal gives step-by-step direction for establishing a healthy and transformational community, warns of potential pitfalls and offers encouragement for many of the common challenges that leaders face."

Heather Zempel, author of Sacred Roads and Community Is Messy

"Small groups often struggle, so we need a trusted guide on how to improve them. Sam O'Neal is my guide of choice, because he's not only read the literature on small groups, he has lived his life in them."

Kevin Miller, associate rector, Church of the Resurrection, Wheaton, IL

"The Field Guide is a broad, yet very solid approach to equipping someone to lead a small group effectively."

Adam Griffin, YouthWorker Journal, May/June 2012


Part One: Mapping the Terrain
1. Small Groups 101
2. The Ministry of Hospitality
3. Learning Styles
Part Two: Planning Your Route
4. The Big Idea
5. Icebreakers and Learning Activities
6. Crafting Great Discussion Questions
7. Planning for Worship and Prayer
8. Finalizing Curriculum
Part Three: Hitting the Trail
9. The Art of Leading a Small Group Discussion
10. Leading a Well-Rounded Group Meeting
11. When Things Don't Go as Planned
12. Application and Inspiration
Appendix 1: Further Resources on
Appendix 2: Sample Icebreakers

Sam O'Neal

As a former managing editor for, Sam O'Neal has a passion for seeing discipleship and full-bodied Christian education done right in the local church-especially in the context of small group communities. Sam is currently a content editor for Threads by Lifeway, where he edits books and Bible studies for young adults.

BY Sam O'Neal

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