Sensible Shoes Leader's Guide
Sensible Shoes is an unusual novel, blending a fictional story with nonfiction teaching elements. Some readers view it only as a story of four characters on a journey. Others say yes to a deeper level of reading, embracing the opportunity to take a "sacred journey" along with the characters, by opening themselves to the Spirit's work and attending to God's invitations.
The Sensible Shoes Leader's Guide offers two ways to invite readers into a deeper journey: first, there are resources here for a twelve-week small group experience through the Sensible Shoes Study Guide. Each week you'll be provided with a few prayer prompts for your work as a leader, tips for facilitating the group, and behind-the-scenes information about the characters and their journeys that can be used as opening materials for your sessions.
The second set of resources in this guide relates to leading a retreat based on Sensible Shoes. After years of creating and speaking at Sensible Shoes Retreats, spiritual director Sharon Brown offers here content to help you design the ideal space for your context as you gather people in longer sessions to experience this material. In addition to one-day, weekend, and online program outlines, there are many creative ideas from leaders of groups who have used Sensible Shoes for retreats over the years.
Sensible Shoes was written for the purpose of bringing God's healing and spiritual transformation into the lives of readers traveling in community. Is there an invitation here for you to bring this message to your community?
Also available: Sensible Shoes Leader Kit and Sensible Shoes Participant Kit, with everything you need for a small group or retreat experience.
"I had already finished reading Sensible Shoes when I was invited into an online group that wanted to read the book together and work through the study guide. I thought maybe I'd just use the book itself and that would be enough. Thankfully, I changed my mind and got the guide. It added a whole new depth to what I'd learned from reading the book. Now I'm organizing a group to dig into spiritual disciplines using Sensible Shoes, and the study guide won't be optional!"
"Sensible Shoes is a book that cries out to be shared! As we journey with the four contrasting characters, there is so much to gain by sharing with others our reactions and responses to each of them, and to identify ourselves and each other with one or more of these different women. I have led three different groups of women in a small group setting on this journey and have found the accompanying study guide to be an invaluable tool for helping to plumb the depths of each character and their situations. Well-crafted questions unlock good thought processes and stimulating discussion. Chapter-by-chapter targeted questions about each character focus our thoughts. Even reading the book as an individual and in private, the study guide helps unlock thinking and broaden understanding. It is also very helpful in bringing the experience of the characters, who are learning about spiritual formation, into our own reality as each reader is encouraged through the guide to personally enter into those same exercises."
"I have used the Sensible Shoes Study Guide, and each time I have led a group I have grown closer to God through engaging with the reflections. It is very easy to use as a leader. Group members frequently commented, 'How does Sharon know the exact question that I need to be asked today? It feels like I am having one-on-one spiritual direction!' Another person said, 'After decades of attending women's groups and small group Bible studies, finally a study that has got to my heart, not just full of fluffy questions to discuss.' The weekly group session notes are designed so anyone can join in, even if life got in the way and a group member didn't do any of the weekly personal reflections—this makes it very accessible and allowed me as a leader to journey with everyone, no matter where they were."
"As the leader of a women's small group, I wanted to share with you the testimony of how the Lord has been working in our lives through these dear characters Sharon Garlough Brown has created and through the wise and fruitful study guides for personal reflection that accompany the books. We have witnessed the Lord at work stirring souls to obedience and to embrace the love of God in new and powerful ways, setting captives free. One older and spiritually mature woman in our group has experienced freedom from bondage she was unaware of until she identified with it in one of the characters. She is finally learning to play. A younger woman has been powerfully released from the pain of her past and has begun to minister to younger women herself. We are all learning, growing, and journeying together. These are books of spiritual transformation and such helpful tools for assisting gatherings of believers to draw closer to one another and to the Lord."
"I have used the Sensible Shoes Study Guide multiple times now with several different women's groups over the last few years. I have been amazed how much the guide helps women dig deeply into what God is stirring in their souls. Women who have never addressed pain or heartache are able to let the great healer Jesus come near and receive his healing through the guidance of the questions in the study guide. The book Sensible Shoes is a beautiful read. When added with the study guide it becomes a beautiful transformative work in women's lives. The women I have walked with over the years always find themselves in the characters of the book, which gives them permission to address what God needs them to process in life."
Part One: Leading Small Groups
Introduction: Experiencing Transformation
Leader's Notes on Each Session
Part Two: Leading Retreats
Planning Your Retreat
Retreat Content Overview