Nora St. Laurent runs three book clubs outside of Atlanta and has established a successful model that has made her a resource for others who would like to establish clubs. To Nora, Book Clubs are a Ministry that revolve around relationships and through this, the Lord would love the women that He put in her life extravagantly. She facilitates a safe environment where women can enter into relationships. She says it best: "This is not about what church you belong to or how well you know the Bible. It also is not a matter of whether or not you go to church. God has called you into relationship with Him and with me and the other ladies in this group to love, to be loved and to encourage each other." She has a vision to duplicate the model to reach as many people as possible and is writing a book about how to do just this. Visit her blog at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com/
Introducing DiAnn Mills, Book Club Leader
I have the privilege of introducing DiAnn Mills as not only an accomplished author with several books to her acclaim ’but also a book club leader.
DiAnn, thanks for sharing, you are a woman of many talents. How did the Lord involve you with book clubs? When did you start running one?
DiAnn: Our book club began as a twofold project. We wanted to share our love of inspirational fiction with others and reach out to the community in and around our church for this effort. We began about ten months ago, so we’re new at this and loving the learning process.
If someone were interested in being part of your book club, would you please describe what he or she can expect? What does your typical meeting look like? Does your group have a name? If so, what is it?
DiAnn: Our book club is very informal. We begin at 9:30 a.m. with a social time of about fifteen minutes in which we enjoy coffee and goodies. Never mind if a member is on a diet, someone will split the goodies with you. :) Members purchase the book to be read and discussed next month. We read all genres within the inspirational market. New members complete a registration form and receive a schedule of the upcoming featured novels, including what author will be present. We begin with prayer and any prayer requests from the group. We ask that God bless our time together and show us what truth we are to learn from the morning’s discussion. Oddly enough, our club does not like to use the discussion questions often provided by the author. Instead they want to formulate their own questions and create discussions from their perspective. We are simply The Met Book Club and are a part of an outreach ministry of our church, Metropolitan Baptist Church. Our meetings last for an hour and a half. :)
Had you ever been a member of a book club before you ran one?
DiAnn: No! I’ve only participated as an author guest to various book club discussion meetings. I saw that the members were very appreciative of authors taking the time to visit their meetings. This made a huge impact on how our church’s book club could be unique.
Does your book club socialize outside of your regular meetings? If so, what have you done as a group that you all enjoyed?
DiAnn: Many of our book club members are in my Sunday school/Small Group/Life Group class—however you refer to that group. So we see each other not only on Sundays, but also socialize monthly with our husbands and at the monthly book club meetings. Sometimes we meet for breakfast before the meeting, and sometimes we gather for lunch afterward. Guest authors are invited!
Where does your book club meet? Do you have or have you had special book club events?
DiAnn: We meet in a Sunday school room on the third Thursday of the month. We haven’t had special events other than reading books from local writers so that writer can visit. However, I’m “planning” a holiday breakfast for the November or December meeting, and we will possibly adopt a family in the area to shower them with gifts. Another thought is to contribute to our city’s hunger mission.
Have you ever had an author speak at your book club, in person, or on the phone?
DiAnn: One of my main goals for our book club is for authors to visit and share their passion for their books, answer questions, and generally make friends. I believe relationships are vital for believers, and it has nothing to do with buying books but making a positive impact for the kingdom. Living in Houston with our wide array of local writers has provided our book club with many dynamic personalities who have impressed book club members with their genuine love for God and the written word.
As a published author and leader of your book club, what is your participation in the group?
DiAnn: I’ve read all of the books and participated in all of the discussions, being careful not to say anything derogatory about the writing: characterization, plot, setting, writer, etc. It’s important for me to be a fan of all the writers from the book club’s readings. I know the writers of all our selections, and I want the readers to understand their hearts. If the writer isn’t present at our meeting, I lead out the discussion. :)
Thanks for stopping by, DiAnn, and letting us get to know your group. If you would like to read the complete interview and not just this excerpt, you can read it at my blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com. If you are a book club leader or an author who leads a book club, contact me at my blog, I’d love to interview you and highlight your group.
Until next time.