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  • How to Start a Book Club (CLICK HERE)
  • Secrets to Reaching Your Friends Through Book Clubs (CLICK HERE)
  • Invite the Authors to Visit Your Book Club Via Call-In (CLICK HERE)
  • Buy this great Book Club Kit (CLICK HERE)
  • Discussion Questions for Potluck Club (CLICK HERE)
  • Discussion Questions for Potluck Catering Club (CLICK HERE)
  • Watch youtube clip on how to start a book club, (CLICK HERE)

Click play buton to watch Linda discuss how to start a book club.

Potluck Club Book Club Kit with authors on DVD available CLICK HERE

How to Start a Book Club

  1. Invite your friends from work, church and school, but don't forget the women in your family.
  2. Encourage each guest to bring a potluck item to share during the event. Maybe even your favorite recipes from the book!
  3. What should be the first book that the groups read? you ask. Do we have a book for you! It's The Potluck Club(Revell, $12.99, trade paper, August, 2005) by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson. A multigenerational mix of women meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But "The Potluck Club", as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. It isn't until they invite God to
    the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.
  4. Host the event in your home, church, or even at your local bookstore. Call your church or bookstore and just ask. (I bet they'll say yes.!) They may get caught up in the fun of it all
  5. Set a date in the fall after kids are back in school and choose the time that is best for your store. Or a summer mom's group might work well too!
  6. Potluck Club Book Club Kit with authors on DVD available CLICK HERE

5 Secrets to Reaching Women Through Book Clubs

By Rebekah Montgomery

They’re hot. They’re trendy. They help women form closer friendships. They introduce thinking women to Christ.

What are “they?” Book clubs. Even for busy women, it is easier to start and maintain a book club than you might guess — if you know these five secrets:

Secret 1. Book Clubs are the new "girls’ night out."

Oprah spotted book clubs as an important trend for sharing ideas and starting friendships.

To create a book club of your own, find four to 10 women who can participate. Advertise in your local newspaper and post notices at the library, churches and bookstores. In your announcements, include a short synopsis of the first book and include your contact info as in the following example:

Join our Book Club

We’re reading: The Potluck Club (A popular book club selection)

Synopsis: In the mountain-town of Summit View Colorado, six women regularly gather for potluck and prayer. But all too often their prayers carry misinformation, setting tongues to wagging in a serving of hilarity. The Potluckers include Evangeline Benson, an old maid who believes she owns the town. Vonnie Westbrook, who has carried a secret for far too long. Lizzie Prattle, whose perfect life spins out of control. Deputy Donna Vesey, who can't decide which man is the love of her life. Goldie Dippel, who’s had enough of her husband's waywardness. Busybody Lisa Leann Lambert who barges into the club on the strength of her delectable cinnamon rolls.

For more information, contact: YOUR NAME

Phone: YOUR PHONE

When women call for more information, ask their preferred time to meet (daytime or evening), day of week, as well as name and phone number. Also ask if they have friends who might also be interested. Remember: Personal invitations are the most effective way to find new members, so ask around and chat it up.

Secret 2. Formulate a game plan that works for your group.

Once you get a consensus on the hours people are available, you can choose a time and day of week. Then mail personal invitations with the details.

At the first meeting, t he group can decide on a club format based on what suits the majority. There is no one-size-fits-all format. Some book clubs meet at a local church or public place, like a library. Many others meet in homes. Some meet at restaurants. Some meet once a month: some biweekly. Some read one book per meeting. Others read one book per year. There are no rules. It is about what works best for your group.

Many clubs select novels, romances, or the popular “chick-lit,” like The Potluck Club series which is a book about friendship written out of friendship. Other clubs stick with nonfiction, biographies, Bible studies and histories.

Whatever you do, advises veteran book club member Ruth Whatley of Ossian, Indiana, decide in advance of each meeting how much of the book you will read and limit the discussion of that section to one week only — even if you don’t get everything discussed. “Otherwise,” said Ruth, “the discussion becomes tedious and redundant and the book club becomes about ‘the book that wouldn’t die.’”

Discussion time can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Just let the discussion happen. The discussion leader is there to rein it in if someone gets off topic and be sure the club keeps to the agreed-upon time limit.

Secret 3. Provide an icebreaker that promotes friendships. Women come to book clubs for the spiritual/intellectual stimulation but stay for the relationships.

Women often build friendships over munchies and coffee before the discussion starts, at a meal afterwards, or through planned starter questions, such as: What character in this book are most you like and why? See if the book you have chosen has a website with discussion questions, as does the Potluck club series at www.PotluckClub.com.

Or, as Cheri Cowell, who organized and leads a Florida-based book club, observed noted, “One question such as, ‘What really struck you in this week's reading?’ and we are off.” 

Cheri also noted that book clubs make reading a community event, like watching a movie at the theaters as opposed to seeing the same thing at home on DVD. Reading a book together cements friendships.

Secret 4. Encourage good, but non-threatening discussions.

At your first meeting, and at every subsequent meeting when someone new joins the club, state the ground rules:

  1. Everyone is free to agree or disagree with the author.
  2. Opinions are just opinions. We will not take it personally if someone disagrees with one of ours.
  3. No one is required to talk. No one will monopolize the discussion.
  4. If someone reveals something personal, it stays within the group.

Felicia Christenson, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, said their group had one additional rule: No kids, no husbands, and no dogs!

The point is to make the discussion accessible to everyone.

For her club, Felicia researched the Internet for book club questions. If she couldn’t find ready-made discussion questions, she made them up.

Secret 5. Gently encourage steps of faith toward Christ by sharing how the book impacts your relationship with Him.

Today, many women will admit to being “spiritual,” though not necessarily Christian. They take an egalitarian view of spirituality, faith, and religion. You may totally disagree with them, but do be respectful. Your job is to introduce Jesus and be open about what He is doing in you. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to draw them to Himself, not yours.

Potluck coauthor Linda Evans Shepherd said, “I got a call from a book club leader in Indiana who told me, “Your books are humorous but deal with deeper issues, many of which members of our group have secretly struggled. Our book discussions have helped us talk about these issues in the light of faith and then to pray for and support one another. This would never have happened without our book club discussions.

Cheri observed: “ We always tie our discussion back into our daily walks with God. If you have a few people in your group who are strong in their faith, they will naturally see God in what you are reading.

“We also close our discussion time with prayer and invite people to share their prayer requests. This is often where we see the most growth—when we are able to be vulnerable in prayer and then rejoice and cry with each other when the answers come—that is when faith really grows.”

Potluck Club Book Club Kit with authors on DVD available CLICK HERE

Invite the Authors to Visit Your Book Club Via Call-in

Some will and some won’t, but many authors will drop in via telephone on book clubs reading their books.

The Potluck Club authors, Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson do. (Certain scheduling restrictions apply.) And they love to do it.

Said Eva: “ I love it when I'm called to be the guest at a book club. The ladies are interested in where ideas come from — the stories behind my spiritual journey of as a writer. This is more of an opportunity to minister than we can begin to imagine.”

Linda agrees: “As an author or a book club guest, I use humor to touch the soul’s secret places. This is the very reason book clubs are such a ministry. They help women break free from the bonds of their pasts and encourage them to minister and to pray for one another.”

An author call-in can be an exciting addition to your book club and pack a spiritual wallop. Check www.PotluckClub.com for the author’s website for availability.

Great Book Club Kit, CLICK HERE

Discussion Questions for Potluck Club

The Potluck Club

Study Questions

 

These questions have been developed for personal reflection or within your Potluck Club book club. They look at the women individually, then as a whole.

Evangeline

1. What physical symbols did the authors use to show that Evangeline continued to live in the past?

2. Why do we sometimes become angry with someone who dies or become furious with God? Is there a type of selfishness in this reaction?

3. Since God knows us and understands each of our reactions to grief, are some responses still misguided?

4. Do you feel that Evangeline has the slight taste of bitterness on her tongue?

5. What steps could Evangeline have made when she was younger to move on with her life?

Vonnie

1. How do you feel about the secret Vonnie kept for more than 30 years?

2. Was she right to remain silent? How much of our past do our friends and spouses have a right to know?

3. Why do you think Vonnie kept the secret--out of her pain or out of fear of more rejection?

4. What traits does Vonnie share with her mother?

5. Are there ways you could apply what Vonnie learned to your own life?

Lizzie

1. What quality of Lizzie's faith makes her "the rock" of the group?

2. Lizzie's life is not perfect, but she seems to glide over problems, emotionally disconnected from them, as if she faces them but from a distance. What effects has this had on her relationships with her family and friends?

3. In what ways does her place as the most stable member of the PLC make her the most vulnerable to Jan's news?

Donna

1. Much of Donna's animosity is based on the assumptions she makes about other people. Are there areas in your life where you assume the truth about another person's actions, even without talking to them?

2. Why do you think that Donna can see the hypocritical nature of some Christians, without seeing the good and honest faith in others?

3. Are there times in your life when you want to dislike something, so you find reasons to, without looking at other angles of the situation?

Goldie

1. Why do you think Goldie remained quiet for so many years about her husband's affairs?

2. How do you feel about her decision to stay silent?

3. How do you think things would have changed in her relationship?

4. Do you think her behavior contributed to the slow destruction of the marriage?

5. What part do you think her faith played in her staying, and in her final decision to leave?

6. Were her decisions more faith-based or world-based?

Lisa Leann

1. Why do you think that Lisa Leann is so bound and determined to take over the Pot Luck Club from Evie?

2. How did you feel the first time she's shown praying? Do you have a sense of the depth or honesty of her faith?

3. How is her faith in God intertwined with her need to control?

4. What is the one thing that Lisa Leann wants most from other people?

5. Why do her actions irritate people?


Leigh

1. Leigh is not what some people would consider a "classic Christian woman." Do you think her unconventional look at the world and faith has a sound scriptural base? How does her faith differ from that of her mother and her aunt?

2. How do you feel about the depth and honesty of Leigh's faith in relation to that of the other women?

3. Are the choices she makes regarding her child and Gary sound, mature ones?

The PLC

1. Lack of communication causes many of the problems with PLC face. In what ways do you think they could have overcome this earlier?

2. Are you reluctant to open up to friends or your spouse about issues that concern your elationship?

3. Why do we hold back from having open, genuine conversations, either with friends, or with God, who already knows us intimately?

4. Why do you think the PLC ladies were stagnant with their prayer life?

5. What events most effected their growth and maturity with their prayers?

6. How do you feel about the way the women coped with the loss of Ruth Ann and Jan?

7. Are there ways to help us accept death as a passage of life, a healing?

8. Much of the book's events are triggered by prejudice, either toward other racial groups or toward people who make natural human mistakes (Leigh, Vonnie, etc.). How do you feel about Evangeline's movement from shock to lovingly embracing Leigh's situation?9. How do Christians balance between what's right morally and the nature of love? Where's the line?

10. The Potluck Club began when Ruth Ann and Evangeline prayed for members of their community. But when news about Clarice's dire illness was really about something else, things shifted. Can you think of a time when a simple story became fodder for gossip?

Have fun!

Potluck Club Book Club Kit with authors on DVD available CLICK HERE

 

Bake Until Golden

1.  For those of you who have read the previous books in the Potluck Catering Club Series, how do you feel about the characters at the series concludes?  Who have you related to the most and why?

 2. Was Donna right to be suspicious of Evie?  Why or why not? 

 3.  Do you think Donna made the right romantic choice?  What are your arguments, pro and con?

 4.  Bake Until Golden has several twists and turns.  Which captured your imagination the most and why?

 5.  Which of the recipes in the book or series did you try or want to try?  Compare notes.

 6.  Bake Until Golden chronicles two major deaths.  Describe how the deaths affected the plot and how they affected your feelings toward Donna and Goldie.

 7. What did you think about Goldie's reaction to the discovery of Jack's son? 

 8. What was the scariest moment in the book for you? Talk about what happened in that scene.

 9. Little did Lisa Leann know she was about to parent her new grandbaby for a couple of weeks. What struck you about Lisa Leann's reaction on how to care for her grandchild compared to that of her daughter's?

 10.  What are your thoughts regarding the final revelation concerning the treasure? What's constitutes a treasure that lasts

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