Sometimes your group may want to do something different than the sermon questions. The books and studies below are all pre-approved for your group to use. If you would like to use something not on this list, we ask that you please contact email@example.com to get it approved.
“DISCIPLEmaking Handbook”" by Austin Ridge Bible Church
This is designed to be a “turnkey” approach for you to learn how to disciple others. This Disciplemaking curriculum is designed to be a tool that is Relational, Scripture Based, Practical, and Reproducible. The study comprises 5 major sections: Introduction to Disciplemaking, Who God Is, What Jesus did for Us, Who we are in Jesus, and How we live for Jesus. If you would like to go through this experience with the people in your Life Group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get an orientation on how to walk through it together.
If your group wants a study for a particular book of the Bible, please email email@example.com for guidance on selecting one.
“The Whole Bible in 16 Verses” by Christopher Bruno
This book highlights 16 key Bible verses that stand as “turning points” in the biblical storyline—enabling us to see God’s incredible plan to redeem his people and glorify his name from Genesis to Revelation. Whether it’s exploring the creation of humanity, the establishment of the covenants, or the coming of the Messiah, this book will help Christians see how God’s Word tells a single story about his sovereignty, glory, and grace.
DOCTRINE + BELIEFS
“Christian Beliefs: 20 Basics” by Wayne Grudem
This readable guide to twenty basic Christian beliefs is a condensation of Wayne Grudem’s award-winning book on systematic theology, prized by pastors and teachers everywhere. He and his son, Elliot, have boiled down the essentials of Christian theology for the average layperson and made them both clear and applicable to life. You will learn about the Bible, the characteristics of God, what it means that we are created in the image of God, what God has done for us in Christ, the purpose of the church, and much more. Each chapter includes questions for personal review or group discussion.
“Growing in Christ” by Navigators
This perennial best-selling discipleship tool contains the classic Bible studies Lessons on Assurance and Lessons on Christian Living in one package―13 lessons in all! These Navigator Bible studies are a great leader’s resource to explain the fundamentals of the Christian life. An ideal study as you walk with a new believer or someone who has an interest in Jesus. Tear-out Scripture memory verse cards are included in KJV, NIV, NASB, and NRSV.
“Basic Christianity” by John Stott (with discussion questions)
Here is a sound, sensible guide for all who seek an intellectually satisfying explanation of the Christian faith. Named a "Book of the Century" by Christianity Today. Who is Jesus Christ? If he is not who he said he was, and if he did not do what he said he had come to do, the whole superstructure of Christianity crumbles in ruin. Is it plausible that Jesus was truly divine? And what would that mean for us? John Stott's clear, classic book, now updated, examines the historical facts on which Christianity stands.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH + CHRISTIAN LIVING
“The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges
“Be holy, for I am holy,” commands God. But holiness is something that is often missed in the Christian’s daily life. According Jerry Bridges, that’s because we’re not exactly sure what our part in holiness is. In The Pursuit of Holiness, he helps us see clearly just what we should rely on God to do―and what we should take responsibility for ourselves. As you deepen your relationship with God, learn more about His character, and understand the Holy Spirit’s role in holiness, your spiritual growth will mature. The included study guide contains 12 lessons.
“The Practice of Godliness” by Jerry Bridges
How can you develop godly character? Jerry Bridges says that godliness is more than a character trait: “It is a foundational spiritual quality that makes the entire Christian life dynamic, effective, and pleasing to God.” Growing in godliness is a twofold process. It involves an ever-deepening devotion to God and developing character that is steadily transformed into His likeness. In The Practice of Godliness, the sequel to the popular book The Pursuit of Holiness, readers will learn how laying an inward foundation of God-centeredness will permit them to build an outward structure of godliness. Character formation will never be the same! Discussion guide included.
“Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives” by Dr. Richard Swenson
Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Today we use margin just to get by. This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. Reevaluate your priorities, determine the value of rest and simplicity in your life, and see where your identity really comes from. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose.
“Living the Cross Centered Life” by CJ Mahaney
CJ Mahaney strips away the nonessentials and brings you back to the simplest, most fundamental reason for your faith: Jesus Christ. This book is packed with powerful truth that will grip your heart, clear your mind, and invigorate your soul. Chapters include “Breaking the Rules of Legalism,” “The Cross Centered Day,” and “Assurance and Joy.” You’ll discover how embracing this cross centered life is both our highest privilege and greatest responsibility.
“You Can Change” by Tim Chester
It's about heart change, not behavior change. This interactive book, laid out in workbook fashion, is for newer Christians struggling with sin and for more mature Christians who have plateaued in their faith as they seek to find victory over sin in their lives. Each chapter includes a question (e.g., Why would you like to change? What truths do you need to turn to?) to guide readers as they deal with a specific sin or struggle, truths from God's word, and a reflection guide to help readers through their change project.
“Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller
Success, true love, and the life you've always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. No wonder we feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings—and now is the perfect time to meet Him again, or for the first time. In Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller shows how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts.
“The Prodigal God” by Tim Keller
Keller takes his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity and uses the parable of the prodigal son to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation. Within that parable Jesus reveals God's prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic. This book will challenge both the devout and skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.
“Humility” by CJ Mahaney
CJ Mahaney paints a striking picture of the daily battle quietly raging within every Christian and asks whether you will passively accommodate the enemy of your soul, pride, or actively cultivate your best friend, humility. When you acknowledge the deception of pride and intentionally humble yourself, you become free to savor abundant mercies and unlikely graces. You will find a new life is yours—a life God richly favors. A God-glorifying life you don’t want to miss.
“Don’t Waste Your Life” book with study guide OR DVD by John Piper
Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, spending their lives on trivial diversions, living for comfort and pleasure, and perhaps trying to avoid sin. This book will warn you not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing. It will challenge you to live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and making the glory of God your singular passion. If you believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, read this book, learn to live for Christ, and don't waste your life!
“Emotional Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero
Even though Scazzero was pastor of a rapidly growing church, he did what most people do: avoided conflict, ignored his anger, sadness, and fear; used God to run from God; and lived without healthy & appropriate boundaries. Eventually God awakened him to a Biblical integration of emotional health, a profound relationship with Jesus, and the historical practices of contemplative spirituality. The book outlines his journey and the signs of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. Then he provides seven Biblical, reality-tested ways to break through to the revolutionary life Christ meant for you. A workbook can be purchased to go along with the reading.
“Transforming Prayer” by Daniel Henderson
Instead of a genuine encounter with God, often prayer is little more than a grocery list of requests. Maybe you, too, seek God’s hand rather than his face. How do you truly connect with God through prayer? In this book, Henderson shows you how to overcome common barriers to praying effectively, awaken your prayer life with simple Biblical patterns of prayer, and enjoy Spirit-led prayer sparked by Scripture Passages. When you experience the profound different of worship-based prayer, your faith and life will never be the same. This book includes discussion questions.
“Prayer” by Tim Keller
With his trademark insights and energy, Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.
“A Praying Life” by Paul Miller (with Discussion Guide)
Author Paul Miller shares his insights and conclusions about how to connect the broken pieces of your life and allow prayer—even poorly delivered—to fill the gaps with meaning and substance. Miller's down-to-earth approach and practical nature will help you see that your relationship with God can grow and your communication with Him can get better. Parents will find Miller's family-life experiences especially helpful.
MARRIAGE + PARENTING
“The Disciple-making Parent” by Chap Bettis
Too many growing up in Christian homes will not follow Christ as adults. This book with study questions will help parents develop an intentional plan for discipling their kids to own their faith in a hostile culture.
“10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) about Christianity” by Rebecca McLaughlin
This would be a great book to work through as a group to equip yourself to equip your kids. In a world of increasing ideological diversity, kids are being challenged to think through their own beliefs at an early age. Questions like How can you believe the Bible is true?; Why can’t we just agree that love is love?; and Isn’t Christianity against diversity? can seem like roadblocks for kids who are following Jesus, as well as for those who might otherwise consider faith in Christ. In this helpful book—written both for Christian kids and for those who think Jesus is just a fairy tale character—Rebecca McLaughlin invites readers ages 12–15 to dig deep into hard questions for themselves and perhaps discover that the things that once looked like roadblocks to faith might actually be signposts.
“The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim and Kathy Keller
Modern culture would have you believe that everyone has a soul mate; that romance is the most important part of a successful marriage; that your spouse is there to help you realize your potential; that marriage does not mean forever, but merely for now; and that starting over after a divorce is the best solution to seemingly intractable marriage issues. But these modern-day assumptions are wrong. The Meaning of Marriage offers instruction on how to have a successful marriage, and is essential reading for anyone who wants to know God and love more deeply in this life.
“What Did You Expect” DVD by Paul David Tripp
Somehow, someway, every marriage becomes a struggle. Everyone’s marriage morphs into something they didn’t intend it to be. At some point you need something sturdier than romance. You need something deeper than shared interests and mutual attraction. You need changed expectations, you need radical commitments, and, most importantly, you need grace.
“Ready to Launch” DVD by J.D. Greear
Plumb the Bible's wisdom about parenting, discipline, the role of the church, and shaping a child's heart for the gospel.
“Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas
Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant with another person. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply. What if God's primary intent for your marriage isn't to make you happy. . . but holy? And what if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God? This book may very well alter profoundly the contours of your marriage. It will most certainly change you. Because whether it is delightful or difficult, your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God. A DVD & Study Questions can be purchased for a small group setting.
“Parenting is Heart Work” by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller
Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, reveal how you can learn to truly reach your child's heart to teach, train, and build a tremendous relationship. Parenting is Heart Work gives you the practical tools an easy-to-follow steps that will revolutionize how you: Turn Correction times into learning experiences; Equip your children to accept responsibility for their mistakes and meditate on the right things; Influence and adjust the values and beliefs your children hold; and Maintain relationship with your children through love and emotional connectedness.
“Life on Mission” with Discussion Questions by Dustin Willis and Aaron Coe
A weak gospel foundation leads to fragile mission practices. Understand both the Biblical foundations and biblical missionary practices is essential to joining the everyday mission of God. This book is a rich, but simple guide that will help everyday missionaries like you (electricians, lawyers, students, stay-at-home moms, engineers, etc.) in the areas of gospel and mission. This will lead you to an effective ministry within your own community and spheres of influences. This study includes a leaders guide inside the book.
“Field Guide for Everyday Mission” by Ben Connelly
If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, God calls you his missionary. You may never go halfway around the world, but because of God's gospel work in you, you are on mission: to people in your work, school, neighborhood, and those in need. As everyday missionaries, God has sent us to live out his Great Commission in the ordinary, normal, all-too busy, and even most mundane moments of our lives. A Field Guide for Everyday Mission is a tool designed for you, whether you're newly considering the missional idea, have never heard the word before, or have spent years trying to figure out how to put it into practice.
“Radical” Book and Workbook and DVD by David Platt
In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus. Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment--a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.
“Spiritual Multiplication” by Bob McNabb
Why do some disciple-makers reproduce while others fail? Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World takes an in-depth look into this question and gives answers based on solid research and biblical foundations. The solutions presented are inspiring and highly practical. Best of all, the keys to fruitfulness shared are universal principles that work in the "real world." These principles will help you multiply generations of disciples, wherever you find yourself! Become A Reproducer.
SHARING OUR FAITH / APOLOGETICS
“Reason for God” by Tim Keller (book and/or DVD study)
Keller addresses the frequent doubts that skeptics, and even ardent believers, have about religion. Using literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and potent reasoning, Keller explains how the belief in a Christian God is, in fact, a sound and rational one. To true believers he offers a solid platform on which to stand their ground against the backlash to religion created by the Age of Skepticism. And to skeptics, atheists, and agnostics, he provides a challenging argument for pursuing the reason for God.
“What is the Gospel” by Greg Gilbert
Beginning with Paul's systematic presentation of the gospel in Romans and moving through the sermons in Acts, Gilbert argues that the central structure of the gospel consists of four main subjects: God, man, Christ, and a response. The book carefully examines each and then explores the effects the gospel can have in individuals, churches, and the world. Both Christian and non-Christian readers will gain a clearer understanding of the gospel in this valuable resource.
“Crucial Questions Series” by RC Sproul
Sproul has written a series of booklets that answer many questions of our faith. Some questions are as basic as, “Who is Jesus” and “Who is the Holy Spirit,” to “How can I have joy in my Life?” These booklets are perfect for grounding your group in the foundations of the faith and are suitable for small group discussions.
Brooke was born and raised a Texan and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Communication. She met her husband, Patrick, at the Ridge, and they have a beautiful daughter, QJ. She has loved watching what the Lord has done through the Ridge over the years and feels extremely blessed to be on staff here. She loves all things Disney, is an enneagram 7, and believes pineapples belong on pizza.
Jessica was raised in Bastrop, Texas, and began following Christ when she was 17. She immediately felt called to ministry and attended Dallas Christian College, where she received a B.S. in Intercultural Studies with a minor in Youth and Family Ministry. In her spare time, she loves exploring Austin, going country dancing or to concerts, and hiking on the Greenbelt.
Becky was raised in Carlsbad, CA, so the beach is her favorite place. She and her amazing husband, Don, have awesome people - including four kids, a few kid-in-laws, and some beautiful grandbabies. The Ellsworths moved to Austin in 2001 for Don to be one of the pastors at Austin Ridge. Becky loves spending time with her family, taking fun vacations (which almost always include a beach and sometimes Disney), reading, cooking/eating, exercising, and spending time with friends. She loves working at Austin Ridge, and being a part of what the Lord is doing in Dripping Springs and around the world.