Reading Group Guide
Questions for Singles
1. In what ways did you identify with Jack’s struggle with singleness? What were some of the positive ways Jack dealt with being single? How could he have faced it differently?
2. Jack met someone he loved deeply, but couldn't spend his life with. Can you relate to Jack’s disappointment? What is the most difficult aspect of having loved someone you cannot be with? What lessons have you learned from this experience that might help you in future relationships?
3. In His mysterious way, God worked together Jack and Jenny’s love relationship. What role did their beliefs, actions, and faithfulness play in what God was able to do in their lives?
4. When Jack acted by faith, agreeing with God’s Spirit to write his memoir, his life began to dramatically change. Have you ever experienced this sort of dramatic change? How can our faith and acting on the prompting of God’s spirit impact our relational life?
5. There was one special love in Jack’s life and there were two in Jenny’s. How did Jack come to receive the love of his life? How did Jenny come to receive her loves? What were the differences in how they came to receive their loves?
6. Jack’s love for Jenny brings to mind the concept of a special, unique life partner, a “soul mate.” What are your thoughts on soul mates? Do they exist? How do your thoughts on this concept impact the way you pursue love? How do they fit in with your understanding of God’s role in relationships?
7. What did Jack find most attractive about Jenny when he first met her? What was most attractive to him when they were reunited?
8. What attracted Jenny to Jack early in the story? What helped her decide to reunite with him after so many years apart?
9. What missteps did Jack and Jenny make in college? What common missteps did they manage to avoid?
10. Do you think Jack and Jenny will make it as a married couple? If so, why? What qualities do each of them possess that will help strengthen their marriage and relationship?
Questions for College Students
1. Early in the story Jack believes that leaving home for college will be a major catalyst for positive change in his life. What expectations did you put on your first year of college?
2. The Campus Missions Office in Providence was committed to serving one distinct, local group of people in need. What impact might your college have on your community if you made a similar commitment? What are the areas of greatest need in your community? In what ways are students already making a difference?
3. College is a time for discovery, which usually includes making mistakes. What missteps did Jack make while he was a college student? What missteps did Jenny make? In what ways can you relate to Jack or Jenny?
4. Although she faced challenges, Jenny was a successful college student at Providence. What personal qualities did she have that helped forge that success?
5. What purpose or meaning did Jack, Jenny, Erin, and Mitchell find during their college years? What purpose are you discovering? What is most surprising about what you’re discovering?
6. In what ways can you relate to the Campus Mission Office’s commitment to the poor? Are there similar organizations at your school? If not, what would it take to organize one?
7. What role, if any, did serendipity play in Jack and Jenny’s story? In Erin and Mitch’s story? What role did God’s providence play?
8. Jack Clayton experiences extraordinary fame and success through his work. What was your first reaction to reading about his success? Were you jealous? Envious? How important is fame and success to you? What does that look like to you?
9. What about this story inspires you? How might you begin to make a difference in your community?
10. Which of Jack’s sins caused others the most pain? Which blessing later in his life brought others to a richer life and deeper walk with God?
Questions for Book Clubs
1. How would you classify the story told in Providence? Is it primarily a love story, an inspirational tale of God's love for us, or a book about serving others? Explain your answer.
2. Some of the main themes of Providence include reconciliation, acting on faith even when it’s difficult, serving the needy, and the consequences of good and evil actions. Which of the main themes impacted you most? Why? What other themes did you discover?
3. There’s a leitmotif of mystery surrounding the story where events seems to happen outside the direct actions of the characters, but rather because of God’s invisible hand of “providence.” Have you ever experienced something similar? How do you know when God is directly involved in your story and when it’s just coincidence?
4. What descriptive detail in the Providence intrigued and appealed to you most?
5. What stood out to you about the characters of Jenny, Erin, Nancy Arcone, Mrs. Hernandez, and Angela? What did they have in common? What made each of them a strong personality?
6. What is your favorite scene or “moment” in the story? What was your emotional response to that scene? What makes this your favorite?
7. Which storyline did you relate to most, the current time storyline or the college-age storyline? Why?
8. What character did you most relate to and why?
9. In what specific ways was God a character in this story? Where did you see evidence of His presence? Where do you see Him in your own story?
10. Does Providence inspire you to make a difference in the world around you? If so, how? What will you do?