Story of Encouragement

Our Spring 8 week groups were a success once again! There was one group in particular of young women who started out intimidated by the Bible with little experience studying it. In addition to their newness to scripture, they also did not feel comfortable praying out loud. They started slow in both places. The leader taught them how to inductively study the bible and their time in the Word has been rich, each of them experiencing time in the Word outside of small group and enjoying it! Not only have they gained practice in studying the Bible they recently asked the leader if everyone could pray for each other out loud!! The leader has been amazed at what God has done in these women including her as she has seen him work powerfully despite her feelings of inadequacy. What a joy to see such growth!

Curriculum Review


Marriage Studies


When Sinners Say I do
by Dave Harvey

A Review by Trisha Hicks

When Sinners Say I do is a great study for married couples of all ages. It is Christ centered and focuses on the power of the gospel in marriage. Dave Harvey uses biblical principles to remind us to examine ourselves first, looking at the sin in our own hearts, before pointing the finger at our spouse. He focuses on this for the first half of the book and while it may seem excessive to some, Harvey recognizes that in order to have enjoyable, God-glorifying marriages we can’t ignore the reality of human sin. Harvey writes, “when sin becomes bitter, marriage becomes sweet.”

This book is not a how-to or step-by-step book but it does offer biblical guidance on the power of the gospel to build and sustain marriages that are healthy and bring glory to God. Dave speaks truthfully and often with humor. He reminds the reader that you are a sinner, married to a sinner and that the gospel is what gives life-transforming power in marriage. CJ Mahaney says this book, “provides clarity in conflict, hope in despair, and points the way to a joy-filled, God glorifying marriage.”

This book comes with a helpful study guide that has questions for you, you and your spouse and the small group. When my husband and I did this study with our group we did not always like all of the questions, but there is also a scripture passage for each week so often we would focus on the scripture and choose one or two questions. Sue Langlie, the Tysons Director of Weekend Ministries and her husband Gordy did this book with a group and wrote an additional study guide that you can download here.


The Meaning of Marriage
by Timothy and Kathy Keller

A Review by Josh Cahan

The Meaning of Marriage is an excellent read for married couples and singles alike. Tim Keller bases the book on Ephesians chapter 5 and combines essential biblical truth with an emphasis on current secular/cultural perspectives of marriage in the US today, which leads to many examples of how far culture has come from the principles God gives in the Bible.

Dr. Tim Keller touches on subjects from friendship to spiritual growth and from sex to singleness to provide a comprehensive summary of a biblical perspective on marriage. This book is a great study for a men’s, women’s, or couples group. There is no study guide so the leader would need to create questions for each chapter.

Curriculum Review

Biblical Manhood & Womanhood Bible Studies


Courageous Living Bible Study
By Michael Catt, Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick

A review by Lee Vaughn

The Courageous Living Bible Study is a dynamic 4-week study that helps lead men toward living more courageously in four key areas: responsibility, priorities, legacy, and faith.

Each week’s study has four components: READ – includes a story of a modern day hero; WATCH – review a clip from the film; STUDY – dig into passages of Joshua; & LIVE – put what you are studying into practice.

Our 8 week men’s group was made up of married and singles, young and old, with varying degrees of spiritual maturity. We met during the fall of 2011 right when Courageous, the movie was opening up in theaters. God used this study to draw us together as a group and to go deep with each other and God’s call on our lives as men. The illustrations from the movie, the modern day heroes within the study and the scriptures themselves fostered open discussions and real relationships within the group.

The format we followed to incorporated this 4-week study into our 8 week commitment:

  • Week 1: Large focus on getting to know one another, shared testimonies, and a word study on “courageous” in the scriptures.
  • Week 2: We watched the movie as a group, short time of connection and prayer.
  • Weeks 3-7: Followed the study guide dividing the 4th lesson into two parts; more shared testimonies.
  • Week 8: Summary lesson, sharing impacts from the study and next steps.

There was strong positive feedback from the men who participated in the study – movie was powerful – the openness and the prayers of the various men was encouraging – a close bond was built among men who previously had not known each other.


A Woman After God’s Own Heart
by Elizabeth George

A review by Trisha Hicks

A Woman After God’s Own Heart is a book that walks through scripture to discover what God says about who He created us to be. There are 24 short chapters in the book. I recommend reading 2 chapters a week and making it a 12 week study, or combining some of the similar chapters into 10 weeks. There is also a workbook that walks through more scripture, practical application and discussion questions for the small group. Unless you enjoy creating your own questions, I recommend getting the workbook to help guide your time together as a group.

This is a very scriptural based book that dives into God’s priorities concerning our walk with the Lord, our ministry, our home, our husband and our children. If you have women in your group who are not married or don’t have children, it still has valuable principles that can be applied to any stage of life, but I would make sure everyone in the group is at a place where they are ready to learn more about being a godly wife and mother.

Elizabeth’s suggestions are sometimes bigger than life, but remember as the leader to always bring it back to scripture and the underlying principles. I thought a few times while reading that she sets the bar too high, but don’t let her ideas overwhelm you, everyone needs to start somewhere and everyone has room to grow. Have the group focus on evaluating where they are in their relationship with God and others and focus on taking it to the next level. Keep in mind that each woman’s next step may not look like the examples Elizabeth gives or like the next step of the other women in the group.

Overall, it’s a challenging book with scripture-based principles.

Curriculum Review

Spiritual Growth Bible Studies


Twelve Ordinary Men
by John MacArthur

A review by Adam Schwenk

John MacArthur’s Twelve Ordinary Men explores the lives of the twelve disciples in fascinating detail. MacArthur combines Scripture with historical data to create a detailed biography of each disciple, but goes beyond information and discusses practical application for your life. For instance, while discussing Peter, MacArthur gives principles to being a strong leader in your Christian community. Overall, your small group will learn how God can do great things with normal people.

While the book contains a lot of information, we have a ten week study guide (download PDF here) for leaders to use in small group discussion. This guide synthesizes all the information for each chapter to ask four discussion questions and a reflective question for the group. We found the book fascinating, but would not use it in a small group without the study guide. The guide will help you focus so that the content in the book is not overwhelming. Twelve Ordinary Men is definitely worth checking out, especially if your group desires to do a study with heavier content.


Training vs Trying – Pursuing Spiritual Transformation
by John Ortberg, Laurie Pederson & Judson Poling

A review by Carol Tran

We all can use a refresher course once in awhile, even on those things we know well. When we’re forced back to the “basics” we have the opportunity to realign ourselves, recalibrate and get recharged. Training vs Trying is a refresher course in the Spiritual Disciplines. We can all fall prey to practicing those areas in our spiritual lives that we enjoy or come easily to us. Ortberg challenges the reader to not only “try”, as the word instructs, but to “train” just as an athlete trains for a marathon. Practice and repetition is the method that the authors suggest to make the disciplines come to life.

This study is seven sessions/weeks. In the study you’re given “Spiritual Exercises” to work on during the week. These exercises along with the discussion questions in the back of the book bring practical application to each lesson. Use Training vs Trying with your group to get back to the “basics” and get recharged for the Lord.

This book is one of a seven booklet series, Pursuing Spiritual Transformation, by Willow Creek Association.

MBC 50th Anniversary (March 16)

In 1961 five families in the small town of Tysons Corner, VA formed a church where the Bible would be taught and the Gospel shared with those living in and around Washington, DC.

Fast forward 50 years later to today. As a small group leader at McLean Bible Church, you are carrying on that legacy of faith by inspiring your group members to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, connect in Biblical community, serve in their God-given ministry, and share the Gospel.

Join the entire MBC family on Friday, March 16, as we celebrate God’s faithfulness over the last 50 years to McLean Bible Church through leaders like you. Bring your entire small group and enjoy dinner from 6–8 pm, worship and prayer from 8–9:30 pm, and dessert, coffee and fellowship from 9:30–10:30 pm.

For more information and to pre-purchase dinner, please visit