This week on the blog, we’re featuring some ideas that we’re hoping will help you better train, equip, and lead your Small Group Leaders. Why? Because we think Small Group Leaders are some of the most important people in the world. For me and Kenny, they’re the people who are doing the majority of the hands-on ministry in the lives of our middle schoolers. And because they’re so important and wonderful and essential to what we do, we want to do everything we possibly can to help our Small Group Leaders be the best people, Jesus-followers, and Small Group Leaders they can possibly be.

Thus… our Small Group Leader Library.

We mentioned this Library idea on Monday, when we gave you a peek at our 11 favorite small group supplies – the 11 things that we always keep on hand for our Small Group Leaders.

The idea for this Small Group Leader Library came about for a pretty simple reason – we wanted to help our team continue learning and growing so that they could be the best Small Group Leaders ever. So we collaborated with our High School Ministry, came up with a list of our favorite books, and decided to make them available to our volunteers – in a library format!

So today, we want to give you a closer look at that Library, as well as some step-by-step instructions so you can make one yourself. Ready? Here we go…


  1. A BOOKSHELF. We had an extra one of these IKEA things hanging around, so that’s what we used.
  2. A SIGN-OUT SYSTEM. For us, that’s simply a pen and a stack of sign-out sheets on a clipboard. The sign-out sheets have slots for their name, the date borrowed, the book title, and a box they check when the book is returned.
  3. SIGNAGE. We thought it might be a good idea to keep a little sign handy – one that reminds Small Group Leaders to please please please sign out their books before taking them. (We display our sign in a cute little picture frame!)
  4. “PLEASE RETURN” STICKERS. We stuck a mailing label on the front of each of our books. They say, “Please return to the Small Group Leader Library within 30 Days! Thank you!”
  5. BOOK CATEGORY SIGNS. We have four categories of books in our Library (which is convenient, because our little bookshelf happens to have four perfect little shelves). So we made signs for each of those four categories and stuck them onto our bookshelf. Ours are made of acrylic with vinyl lettering.


Here are the books you can find in our Small Group Leader Library…


Because, before a Small Group Leader can lead their students well, they need to first be able to lead themselves.

  • Love Does, Bob Goff
  • Soul Detox, Craig Groeschel
  • Right Here, Right Now, Alan Hirsch
  • Enjoy the Silence, Duffy Robbins
  • Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders 
  • Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley
  • Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas
  • Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard


Because leading a small group isn’t always the easiest thing in the world.

  • The Be-With Factor, Bo Boshers
  • Spiritual Mentoring, Keith Anderson & Randy Reese
  • Teenage Guys, Steve Gerali
  • 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders, Josh Griffin & Doug Fields
  • The Slow Fade, Reggie Joiner
  • Lead Small, Reggie Joiner & Tom Shefchunas
  • Teenage Girls, Ginny Olson
  • Sticky Faith: Youth Worker’s Edition, Kara Powell
  • The Hot Seat, Johnny Scott

PARTNERING WITH PARENTS: For Their Relationships with Parents

Because Small Group Leaders are our primary link between the church and the family.

  • Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Reggie Joiner & Carey Nieuwhof
  • 99 Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers, Walt Mueller
  • Understanding Your Young Teen, Mark Oestreicher
  • A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls, Mark Oestreicher & Brooklyn Lindsey
  • A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Guys, Mark Oestreicher & Brock Morgan
  • Parenting a New Generation, a DVD from Orange
  • Sticky Faith, Kara Powell

STUDENTS IN CRISIS: For Those Tricky Situations

Because, sometimes, a Small Group Leader will need to help a student walk through something really hard.

  • Every Young Man’s Battle, Stephen Arterburn
  • Sex God, Rob Bell
  • Hurt 2.0, Chap Clark
  • When Kids Hurt, Chap Clark
  • Every Young Woman’s Battle, Shannon Etheridge & Stephen Arterburn
  • For Young Men Only, Jeff Feldhahn
  • For Young Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn & Lisa Rise
  • Hope When Life Hurts Most, a DVD from Passion and Louie Giglio
  • Hope & Healing for Kids Who Cut, Marv Penner
  • The Youth Worker’s Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis, Rich Van Pelt & Jim Hancock


Put your “please return!” labels on your books. Fill up your bookshelf. Set up your sign-out system. And you’re done! Now get your Small Group Leaders attention and spread the word about your fancy new Library!

What helpful books or resources would you add to this book list for Small Group Leaders?