Nora St. Laurent

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.

Nora 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."

Visit her blog at 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.


Book clubs are a great way to connect with like-minded people, discuss good books, and have fun and laugh (you can never have enough laughing is what I say). These relationship-based groups, like all relationships, can grow stale over time. Following are some tips to rekindle the fire when the passion for club dims. Maybe some of these are happening in your group; give a few of these a try and see passion for book club ignite.

1. Do you feel disconnected from your group? Are groups breaking off and talking among themselves? Maybe this will help you all reconnect again.

I run three book clubs, each with their own personality, and I love the variety of people. Earlier this year five authors visited all three book clubs in four months. During this time, several new people joined.

After the second author visited the clubs, I noticed that our group was losing its unity, I felt disconnected from them, and they with one another. Also, I didn’t have time to truly welcome new members the way we usually do.

Whenever authors spoke to our groups, I made some changes in our format to help us through these exciting and challenging times. I incorporated more time for us to get to know one another better before the author arrived. We also cut discussion of the book completely in some groups and half of the time in other groups. We saved the majority of questions and comments for the authors when they spoke. This helped us stay connected.

2. We also meet outside socially for informal group meetings.

To help reconnect our group after several new people joined and the many author visits, we found a few community events that we could attend as a group. Ruth Graham spoke at a local church, so some of us went to that together. One of the ladies in our groups volunteered her home for a game night. It was great just to hang out, get to know one another better, and laugh—a huge plus to our group. When we got together the next month, those of us who attended the two community events talked about it with the group so that they could be connected to the events and get in on the fun as well.

3. We took the relational aspect of each group deeper at the meetings that followed the author events, allowing us to get to know one another better.

I did this by taking the first thirty minutes of our book club time for sharing. Anyone could jump in and share what had been happening to her. We took turns sharing about good books that we read or any special thing we had done since our last meeting (one of our ladies went to Hawaii and shared about that). This was a highlight for all of us and everyone was glad we took the time to do this. As I mentioned earlier, “relationships” take time and work. Starting out book club by sharing our hearts was worth book club time and made what we shared later in the book discussion more meaningful and fun.

4. I asked the group if they would be willing to try another genre.

I have been running book clubs for over two years, and I wanted our groups to branch out into something that they have never done before. I wanted them to try a nonfiction book, one that would inspire all of us and help us grow as people and a group. The excitement grew as we discussed this new aspect of book club and what nonfiction book we would choose. I could feel the energy.

5. Shake things up and try something completely different with your group.

A woman in our group is passionate about Christmas Child project. She asked me if she could share her heart and get others to join her in this project.

She shared and everyone was excited to work together for something so special. And in the process of doing a worthwhile project, we would get to know one another on a deeper level. We haven’t begun the project, yet the enthusiasm and oneness is great.

6. Have you thought about author visits via the phone?

Having an author “visit” your club via the telephone is a great idea. It generates excitement, and it connects the members one to another and the authors with their readers.

7. Have you thought about sharing your love of books by giving them away?

A few months ago a few ladies mentioned to the group that they wanted to do something with the books they have collected through the years. That night we come up with several ways they could use their old books to give joy to others. Several of the ladies thought that a book drive would be neat, so they donated them to groups in need (local library, a library that had burned down, a local church were just a few places mentioned). This was a new direction for us; we are still researching what would be the best way to give our books. A couple of other ladies said several local book stores like “Books for Less” would take our old books in trade for store credit. My personal favorite is a Web site called Paperback Swap. ( This is a great place to trade paperbacks and hardback books as well. It’s fun and easy. I send the books Media Mail, so the average book costs about $2.40.

I hope some of these ideas have helped you think about ways you can recharge your book club meetings and draw your members closer together.

For information on the different authors who have visited my clubs, and some interesting interviews with authors, check out my blog at

Nora St. Laurent
Book Club Servant Leader
ACFW Book Club Assistant