This is the third post in a series of blogs sharing what some friends and small group leadership partners are saying about Small Group Vital Signs. Today I’m grateful for my friend and one of my biggest supporters and encouragers, Mark Taylor. 
“Finally! A book about small groups to help us decide we should have small groups and to know whether our small groups are fulfilling a biblical purpose. Although this book is practical, it is refreshingly devoid of self-centered trendiness. Those just starting a small groups program—and those who have led small groups for years—must read this book to evaluate what they’re doing!” 
                                                  – Mark Taylor
I met Mark Taylor nearly 25 years ago (could it really be that long?) at Standard Publishing in Cincinnati. At the time, I had been a Christian about a month and sensed God calling me as a writer and editor in a Christian publishing company. So I met with Mark, Sam Stone, and Gene Wigginton at the Standard offices. I remember the puzzled looks on their faces as they tried to explain that their editors had not only been Christians a long time, but many had been in ministry for years. I guess I was pretty relentless, so they suggested I check out Cincinnati Bible College and maybe take some classes. I went to the campus that day and registered. Two months later I started work on my MA in Christian Education with an emphasis in journalism in the seminary. About six months after that, John Sample called me and offered me a job at Standard as his assistant. Another six months later, when Mark moved from editing The Lookout to adult books and curriculum, I was offered the associate editor position at The Lookout, where I first started writing about small groups in a column we called “Growing in Groups.” The next year Mark asked me to join his team editing adult books and curriculum. I had no idea what I was doing, but God was obviously in control!
I owe so much to Mark Taylor. He has taken chances on me numerous times. More importantly, he  mentored me and believed in me. Mark and I co-wrote two “Creative Groups Guides”: Claiming Your Place and Hearing God. Then, after I left Standard to found SmallGroups.com, Mark continued to help me with side editing jobs that got me through those first couple rough years. When I was ordained as a minister, Mark came and gave the charge. Mark and I have continued to work together on small groups projects at Standard. He helped edit my book I’m a Leader…Now What? published by Standard in 2007. Today, I’m writing a monthly column about small group leadership for the Christian Standard, of which Mark Taylor is the editor and publisher.
Yes, Mark Taylor has had an impact on my life!
Thanks, Mark, for believing in me, encouraging me, and helping to mold me as a Christian man, minister, and writer. 

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Michael Mack has led Small Group Leadership full-time since 2012, but has been involved in small group ministry for more than 25 years. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. Their family small group, which includes their four young adult children, has much potential (and much anticipation) for future growth and multiplication. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of great friends who participate together in various charity rides. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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