Book Review: Sticky Church

My buddy Jason, the Pastor of Small Groups at Chase Oaks church recently gave me Sticky Church, by Larry Osborne. If you've been reading my blog for more than a year, you might remember my review of one of Osborne's earlier books "Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God." That book talks about the importance of community within the church because it "Velcros people to truth."

"Sticky Church" develops the Velcro idea even further, proposing the idea that sermon-based small groups help close the back door to churches, further the impact of a sermon, allows more simple equipping of small group leaders, and provides a better context for people to grow as disciples.

Osborne believes (and I agree) that we do people a disservice when the only discipleship models we offer are linear (step one, then step two, then step three). Nobody grows in any other relationship like that. Instead, we learn best when we need to know. I didn't truly learn about God's sovereignty and character until I was in a desperate situation that forced me to examine it. According to Osborne, small groups are best equipped to help connect people to Truth because they connect people to Bible-centered community groups who are strategically placed in each others' lives to be present in need-to-know situations.

Even if you're not a part of a church whose primary discipleship model is small groups (ours isn't), this book can be helpful - especially for pastors. I'm not convinced that sermon-based small groups that function exactly like Osborne's are the silver bullet for discipleship, though I certainly buy most of his arguments. I do think that small communities of people are the most effective way to stimulate each other toward love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).

Whatever system your churches uses for discipleship, it's worth examining Osborne's model. Many of the principles will carry-over even if you decide not to do a system overhaul. Osborne thinks and writes well - "Sticky Church" is an easy and worthwhile read."