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Lisa Sharon Harper’s book The Very Good Gospel (available as a book or as an audio book read by the author – and highly recommended!) walks us through a vision for healing, shalom, and wholeness for our relationships with ourselves, with others, and the earth. To move towards shalom we have to acknowledge that there are cracks in the foundations of institutions and relationships, and how we struggle to see the Imago Dei in the world. Harper’s book serves as a sermon, a classroom, and a prophetic word that offers a rich opportunity for discussion, sharing our own stories, and personal transformation. This book isn’t here just to be read, but challenges the reader to prayerfully ask God to guide them so that it can facilitate growth and transformation.


Notes for Leaders

  • In this discussion guide for use in a Small Group setting readers will be invited to examine their own picture or understanding of the gospel and hold space as others do the same. Group leaders may use the discussion questions as a starting point for meetings, but should also feel at liberty to follow the threads that emerge in the group. Group facilitators can find all the resources needed for this study below. Note that Week 1 is not for discussing the book, but instead should be used to get to know one another and set the posture for the group. Begin reading the book to discuss for Week 2.

  • The questions this book asks are probing and invite vulnerability. As leaders, familiarize yourself with the Group Norms handout (see Week 1) to foster an atmosphere that allows for authentic conversation and creates space for each participant to process the content in their own time and way. The first question each week is “Where did you find food?” Harper uses the analogy of food in the opening chapters and it should be a prompt for your group to share what was helpful or nourishing in the week’s reading, or to share questions that arose during the week – because finding language for our questions can be incredibly life-giving!

  • Finally, conversation is a great place to explore, but it is not where we should stay forever. As you talk and examine what the Good News of the gospel is, remember that it is an embodied and lived-out gospel. Keep returning back to the question: How does this change the way I live, love, and participate in the world?


  • Questions to guide group meetings week-by-week.

    For your convenience, these materials are offered in printer-friendly PDF format.