“Muskrat” Small Group Leadership

Last week while leading a small group conference session on “Building Real Community” I mentioned the 80/20 rule. That is, in a healthy small group, the group should do about 80 percent of the talking while the leader should talk only about 20 percent of the time (and much of that 20 percent should be in the form of questions). I didn’t have the 80/20 rule in my notes and didn’t plan on talking about it.

A couple days later, I received this note from one of the participants:

Thank you for leading the Small Group Conference at JEFC this weekend. Your passion for the impact small groups can have on lives and ultimately bring God glory came through very clearly. 

I know I learned a lot and am already applying (80/20 rule for one). My wife and I now have a system for keeping me accountable to the 80/20 rule. I’m a lifelong sales guy and prone to talking – a lot. My lovely wife said she would monitor me and if at any time I start to go over the 20% mark she will quietly say “Muskrat.” It worked last night until other members picked up on it and also would say “muskrat”… I’m learning.

I literally laughed out loud as I read this. Can’t you just imagine this group, as the leader starts into a story, all saying, “Muskrat!”? Imagine the thoughts of a first-time visitor: What have I gotten myself into now? 
But I love how God works! The one big thing this guy got out of a whole weekend was something I didn’t plan on saying, and this little tidbit may change the dynamics of his group. Who knows, perhaps someone’s life will change because she now has the opportunity to share more deeply … all because of this group’s …… wait for it ….. Muskrat Love! (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.) 
What kinds of lessons is God teaching you as a leader? Comment below to share yours! 

Author: Michael Mack

Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

2 thoughts on ““Muskrat” Small Group Leadership”

  1. Thanks, Mason. Really enjoyed the last two weekends in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Des Moines, Iowa, hanging out with fellow small group leaders and doing some equipping. Hope we can arrange something out in California soon!

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