If you need some ideas for studies to use in your shepherd group, here are some books and videos that you might want to consider.
Unless otherwise specified, the resources on this page were recommended by RBC shepherd group leaders.
John: Jesus – The Word, The Messiah, The Son of God
This study of the book of John uses 12 study sessions. Scripture passages are provided within the book, and there are good questions for the group to discuss, along with helpful marginal notes.
1 & 2 Kings
This is an 8-session study of two books of the Bible that are often neglected. The studies are somewhat lengthy, with a lot of good discussion questions and notes.Purchase the Book
Life Lessons from Philippians
Philippians is filled with quotable verses with powerful implications for individuals, marriages and the body of believers. This book is a 10-week study with discussion questions in each section.Purchase the Book
Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told
This book has solid biblical teaching on challenging subjects. You can learn accurate interpretations of many parables and their applications to present day. It is a very good study by a trustworthy teacher.
66 Love Letters
This book is written in the style of a conversation that Dr Crabb has with the Lord regarding each book of the Bible. The questions Crabb asks are real, deeply personal, and honest. The replies emphasize God’s overarching message: sin, grace, repentance, brokenness before a holy God, self-worshipping rebellion, radical servanthood, self-denial, no gospel without the cross, no salvation without Christ, no spiritual formation without suffering.
Angels: Who They Are And How They Help; What The Bible Reveals
This study provides a basic understanding of the status and role of angels as God’s messengers and guardians. It does this by providing solid biblical teaching based on the relevant bible references, at the same time not overwhelming participants who may only have a passing interest in the subject. There is a study guide with 10 lessons, available with a companion book and CD containing Dr. Jeremiah’s series of messages on the subject.Purchase the Book
In Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller shows how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message cements Keller’s reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time—for both the faithful and the skeptical.Purchase the Book
In today’s world, we are more preoccupied with solving our problems than with finding God. We’ve got things backward, says Dr. Larry Crabb. Instead of using God to solve our problems, we need to use our problems to find God.Purchase the Book
The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story
This book will help improve your basic working knowledge of the Bible as D.A. Carson takes you through the big story of Scripture to help you know what you believe and why you believe it. It is 14 chapters, and there is an additional companion leader’s guide available.Purchase the Book
Growing in Christ: A Thirteen-Week Course for New and Growing Christians
The first 5 weeks of this study “put beyond all doubt some basic promises God has made to Christians.” The other 8 weeks focus on “the responsibilities and privileges we have in living a life that pleases God.” The study is fairly basic, but it can remind a group of the foundational truths of salvation, and our subsequent walk with Jesus Christ.Purchase the Book
From Amazon “What will heaven be like? Randy Alcorn presents a thoroughly biblical answer, based on years of careful study, presented in an engaging, reader-friendly style. His conclusions will surprise readers and stretch their thinking about this important subject. Heaven will inspire readers to long for heaven while they’re living on earth.”Purchase the Book
Jesus the King
This book is excellently written and very easy to read. The chapters range from 12 to 20 pages; a group could go through one or two chapters per week. Dr. Keller walks the reader through the gospel of Mark extremely thoughtfully and sincerely. His passion for the unbelieving reader to understand the basic premise of the Gospel is palpable, and yet he equally helps the seasoned Christian gain a deeper understanding of Scripture. He makes important connections between the New and Old Testaments and does a great job of highlighting the value of Mark’s account and the authority from which he speaks.Purchase the Book
Making Sense of God
Keller invites students of secular philosophy and those skeptical of faith and religion in general to consider a Christian God that still makes sense. What if Christianity provided us with unsurpassed resources to answer questions regarding fulfillment, personal freedom, justice, and hope? Written for the undecided seeker and the secular skeptic, Making Sense of God shines a light on the profound value and importance of Christianity.Purchase the Book
On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision
William Lane Craig
This concise training manual by renowned scholar William Lane Craig is filled with illustrations, sidebars, and memorizable steps to help you stand your ground and defend your faith with reason and precision. Dr. Craig offers four arguments for God’s existence, defends the historicity of Jesus’ personal claims and resurrection, addresses the problem of suffering, and shows why religious relativism doesn’t work. Along the way, he shares his own story of following God’s call.
Parenting provides an excellent foundation on how to approach the role of a parent. Its focus is applying the Gospel in the everyday situations for parents. You will be challenged to re-look at both yourself as well as your child. It is written for any parent, but it would be best for parents with preteens or teens.Purchase the Book
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
This book introduces a real Biblical guide to conflict resolution. It has great teaching and practical instruction, very applicable but challenging to implement.Purchase the Book
The Pressure’s Off
In The Pressure’s Off, best-selling author and counselor Larry Crabb introduces you to a new way of living. God does not guarantee ease or convenience—or even a good outcome as the result of your obedience. But he does promise Himself, no matter what the circumstances of your life.Purchase the Book
The Prodigal Prophet
This book is an outline of the book of Jonah, exploring how God revealed His great love to Jonah, and to the nations, through His “prodigal” prophet. It is fairly short and could be completed in around 10 sessions.Purchase the Book
The Pursuit of God
Tozer calls for a slow steady gaze upon God. He urges us to replace low thoughts of God with lofty ones, to quiet our lives so we can know God’s presence and reminds us that life apart from God is really no life at all.Purchase the Book
The Reason for God
Reason for God provides insights into addressing tough questions about Does God exist, why is their suffering? Why is Christianity the only way? Did the resurrection really happen. It is great for answering questions from either your kids or co-workers, neighbors, etc. This book works for a 15- to 16-week study.
This study consists of a single volume containing 21 chapters of instructional text and nine sessions (lessons). Each lesson contains separate questions for use in both personal and group study, as well as recommendations for further study and prayer. The book is very convicting, as it highlights so-called “respectable” sins; sins that we often do not recognize as sins, such as pride, selfishness, impatience, lack of self-control, anger, etc.Purchase the Book
Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven
Dr. David Jeremiah
Dr. Jeremiah’s study on heaven successfully answered many of our group’s basic questions regarding what the bible promises about the nature of heaven, at the same time addressing many of the misconceptions we may have had about heaven and the path we will have to follow to get there. The study is supported by both a book containing Dr. Jeremiah’s individual messages on the subject, or a CD containing largely the same text. Playing the individual 35 minute lesson messages at the beginning of each meeting and then basing discussions on the provided study questions is an effective combination, with the result that Dr. Jeremiah’s recorded messages are fresh in each group member’s mind.Purchase the Book
This book has a nice mix of theory and practice. It provides a great foundation for newlyweds and definitely sparks discussion among couples, especially outside of the shepherd group meeting. There are discussion questions for each of the 14 chapters.Purchase the Book
“In Tactics, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously through the minefields of a challenging discussion, how to stop challengers in their tracks, and how to turn the tables on question or provocative statement. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.”Purchase the Book
Taking God at His Word
This book is a helpful primer to understanding the majesty of God’s Word and how to approach it, revere it, and study it. The book is fairly short, with eight chapters of around 10-15 pages each. There is a study guide available for download that asks thoughtful questions to spark group discussion.
“Why is God allowing this?” or “What have I done wrong?” are questions that we may sometimes use during adversities that seem to doubt God’s sovereignty. Jerry Bridges shares the fruit of his personal study on God’s sovereignty exploring God’s power over nations, nature, and even the details of your life; enabling us to trust him more completely—even when it hurts. The book includes a chapter discussion guide that provides central ideas, highlights, and discussion questions.Purchase the Book
Why Small Groups
Small groups provide the ideal context for “working out our salvation” together. But not all groups are created equal. C.J. Mahaney says “a small group ministry won’t ultimately be effective unless it exists to achieve biblical purposes.” From Scripture, he points out the clear goals of a small group: progressive sanctification out of which flows mutual care, fellowship and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. All new RBC Shepherd Groups use this book to begin their small group ministry. Existing RBC Shepherd Groups are also greatly encouraged to take their group through this book.
The Gospel of Mark
Francis Chan teaches from various sites in Israel directly related to the gospel of Mark. He traces the very steps of Jesus with beautiful videos of Israel It is powerful, effective, and moving. It makes the Word come alive. There are 11 videos, 5 to 15 minutes long.Watch the videos
The Book of Colossians
This video series provides background, context, and application points for Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Between the handouts and leader’s guide, there were good discussion questions as well as supporting materials to understand the book and drive discussion.Watch the videos
Effective Parenting in a Defective World
Effective Parenting has 9 sessions, and you can cover one session per meeting. This is a video/workbook study. There is a leader’s workbook that helps facilitate discussions. It is best for the leader to review each session prior to covering with the SG. The study covers concepts for teaching children of all ages.
This material is valuable for its focus on familial relationships, conflict resolution, and leaving a legacy. It was applicable for everyone in the group. There are six messages in the series, each one between 39 and 48 minutes.Watch the videos
The Book of James
From RightNow Media: “True faith produces fruit. A faith without action and without life change is ultimately a dead faith. The book of James speaks to the realities of a living faith in Jesus—the kind of roll-up-your-sleeves and get-your-hands-dirty discipleship that is borne out of an authentic relationship with the risen Lord. Through 12 sessions, Francis works through James verse-by-verse, challenging followers of Christ to move beyond a private, intellectual knowledge of God and His Word, to a vibrant faith that impacts every square inch of life.”Watch the videos
Pack Your Bags
This material is valuable for helping group members see how to be preparing for “what’s next” in their lives. There are five videos in the series, each one between 36 and 47 minutes.Watch the videos
This is a 10-part video series on RightNow Media. The video sessions range from 9-19 minutes. There is a leader’s guide available with discussion topics and questions for each session. Matt’s messages were based on progressing through the verses of Psalm 119, but he also brought in many New Testament references that followed the themes of the verses. These themes included dealing with pain, living a surrendered life, and dissatisfaction with worldly pursuits (to name only a few). Our group watched the videos and discussed the questions at each meeting which was enough time to sufficiently cover the topics in about 45 minutes to an hour of group time after the video.