Bible Study Recommendations for a New Neighborhood Cafe
“Do you have suggestions on books or studies that work well when a group is first getting established? If the group gels, I figure the group can help decide on the next study, but choosing the first topic is up to me.”
Hostesses like Julie understand that choosing a topic for your Neighborhood Cafe is different than choosing a topic for your Bible Study at church. Most Bible studies are written by Christians, for Christians, about how to be a better Christian. But… only one in five of your neighbors goes to church, and those who do attend many different denominations. The typical home on your street owns three Bibles, but its pages are rarely cracked open. Your neighbors probably don’t speak “Christianese” around their dinner tables, so phrases like “the Lord laid it on my heart” or “having my devotions” or “intercede in prayer” sound foreign.
But don’t worry, there are countless amazing resources that will engage your neighbors!
Here are some of my favorites! I’ve had the amazing privilege to meet each of these authors personally and can recommend any of their books confidently. I’m a huge fan my friend Kathi Lipp because her books are practical for daily life and appealing to all women, regardless of their faith in God (or lack thereof).
Ready for Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis Big or Small
By Kathi Lipp
Bad stuff happens all the time but this doesn’t mean we have to live in constant fear. Kathi gives finite simple steps for being proactive rather than reactive—helping you prepare their mind, heart and home for any unfortunate circumstance. Full of stories and humor along with facts, tips and lists, Kathi offers a down-to-earth guide that will show you how to face the unexpected with confidence, relying on God’s strength and plan rather than giving in to fear and anxiety. Her step-by-step plan is easy to implement and will help anyone become a better steward of their resources as well as be the neighbor who can help in a crisis rather than needing help themselves. Kathi’s goal is to equip you to be the front line of helpers in any crisis from a natural disaster to a friend’s job loss.
The Clutter Free Home
By Kathi Lipp
When it comes to your home, peace is possible…
Longing for a place of peace from which you can love others well? The Clutter-Free Home is your room-by-room guide to decluttering, reclaiming, and celebrating every space of your home.
Let author Kathi Lipp (who once lived a life buried in clutter) walk you through each room of your house to create organizational zones that are not only functional and practical but create places of peace that reflect your personality. Kathi will help you tackle the four-step process of dedicate, decide, declutter and “do-your-thing” to reveal the home you’ve always dreamed of, and then transform it into a haven that reflects who you truly are meant to be.
Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity
By Kathi Lipp & Cheri Gregory
Wondering if it’s possible to move from “out of my mind” to “in control” when you’ve got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?
Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life, decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite, replace fear of the future with peace in the present
You can simplify and savor your life — guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.
The Get Yourself Organized Project
By Kathi Lipp
Finally, an organizational book for women who have given up trying to be Martha Stewart but still desire some semblance of order in their lives.
Most organizational books are written by and for people who are naturally structured and orderly. For the woman who is more ADD than type A, the advice sounds terrific but seldom works. These women are looking for help that takes into account their free-spirited outlook while providing tips and tricks they can easily follow to live a more organized life.
In her inimitable style, Kathi offers
- easy and effective ways women can restore peace to their everyday lives
- simple and manageable long-term solutions for organizing any room in one’s home (and keeping it that way)
- a realistic way to de-stress a busy schedule
- strategies for efficient shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, and more
Full of helpful tips and abundant good humor, The Get Yourself Organized Project is for those who want to spend their time living and enjoying life rather than organizing their sock drawer.
When Making Others Happy is Making You Miserable
By Karen Ehman
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and pulled in too many directions by the needs of others? Break the pattern of people pleasing and confidently live your life. Author and speaker Karen Ehman knows firsthand how people pleasing locks us in a prison, trapping us in unhealthy habits which distract us from our true selves and our God-given purpose.
With honesty and practical wisdom, Ehman explores why we fall into people-pleasing behaviors and offers advice for how we can break out into the freedom God has called us to. Because the truth is we cannot fulfill our divine purpose if we’re too busy living everyone else’s.
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way
by Lysa TerKeurst
What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful and His promises doubtful?
Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.
Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. In It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability and honest humor.
Whether we’re dealing with daily disappointments or life-altering loss, we can find unexpected strength as we learn what it is to wrestle well between our faith and our feelings.
God is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
by Jennifer Rothschild
Do you believe God is just not fair? If you’re like Jennifer Rothschild, you wrestle with questions when you experience painful circumstances. Does God care? Does he hear my prayers? Is he even there? Blinded as a teenager, Jennifer overcame daunting obstacles, found strength in God, and launched a successful speaking and writing ministry. Then in her 40’s, everything changed. Jennifer hit a wall of depression and discontent that shook her to her core, undermining many of her past assumptions about her faith. Jennifer wondered who God was and why he continued to allow her to struggle and doubt. Where, Jennifer pleaded,is his hand of healing and hope in my life now?
This is a book about finding more than just answers. It’s for anyone who needs hope when life doesn’t make sense – for all who reach for a God who feels distant. As Jennifer tackles the six big questions of faith, she will help you: Trust God more than your feelings. Strengthen your faith when you feel beat up by life. Embrace your obstacles and start experiencing their purpose. Face your disappointment and grow stronger from your loss.
A Place to Belong
By Lisa Troyer
Every woman needs a place to belong – and that’s the underlying theme of the new book from Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries, singer/songwriter and radio host. In A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God’s Adventure, Troyer shares her own journey to acceptance as well as the story of a group of “women helping women” who call themselves the Circle of Friends. Troyer encourages readers to form their own circle of friends, a safe place of truth and love where women can develop lasting relationships and discover together the purposes of God for their lives.
Tips for Choosing a Topic
- Choose a topic and format that has “meat” as well as “milk.” There are resources that offer life-impacting truth and solid Biblical teaching, yet are explained in such a down-to-earth and practical way that new believers or non-believers can grasp the meaning and apply it to their lives.
- Avoid any resource that takes an unyielding stand on “disputable matters.” Don’t attempt to resolve dogmatic dilemmas about topics such as speaking in tongues, pre- or post- millennialism or the role of women in ministry. Save these debates for your church crowd, if you must.
- Try to avoid hot button political issues that will lead to division instead of discussion. While these topics may come up naturally in your conversation, they shouldn’t be the primary focus of your Neighborhood Cafe.
- Ask the Women’s Ministry director at your church for recommendations (and support!).
Other factors to consider:
- Format: is it a book, workbook, DVD or online Bible study? Ensure you have the technical resources necessary to show DVD’s or online videos.
- Length: How long does each session last? How long is the entire Bible study?
- Homework: Is there homework? Is it daily or by chapter? If someone hasn’t done the homework, will she be lost?
- Cost: How much does it cost each participant? How much is the leader’s guide or DVD’s?
What are your favorite topics, resources, or authors? Let us know in the comments!