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! 

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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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  1. Andrew Mason

    January 28, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    LOL! That's a great story from the trenches Mike. Sounds like the Small Group Conference session was well-received too. Great job!


  2. Mike Mack

    January 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    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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