I believe life change happens best in small groups—because I’ve experienced it myself.
The first small group I ever participated in was literally life-changing. I was a new Christian and the new friends in that group helped me understand how to live my life for Christ. When I asked them to pray for me to know what God wanted me to do with the rest of my life, they did; two weeks later my company downsized my entire department. Again I asked them to pray for me to know what to do next. Two months later I was at Cincinnati Bible Seminary (now Cincinnati Christian University, where I am currently an adjunct professor teaching a small groups and discipleship class) studying Christian education and journalism. Read more of my story, “Why Small Groups Matter to Me,” here.
While at CCU, I began working at Standard Publishing Company, and moved up to assistant editor of The Lookout magazine where I wrote a bi-weekly small groups column. Later, I moved to the “New Products” department where I developed and edited small group resources. In 1995, after writing my first book, The Synergy Church, and spending time with small group pioneer Lyman Coleman, I left Standard to start SmallGroups.com out of my basement. (See my article about “The Beginnings of SmallGroups.com” here.)
Church Leadership Experience
I never planned to be a staff member in a church leading a small groups ministry. I thought God’s call on my life was limited to writing and some volunteer ministry. Of course, God had other plans. After conversations with several churches and lots and lots of prayer, followed by an internship at Clovernook Christian Church in Cincinnati, where I was then ordained, Heidi and I moved from Cincinnati to Anderson, Indiana, for our first full-time staff ministry.
In Anderson, I was the Associate Minister at Bethany Christian Church, where I was called to start a small group ministry from scratch as well as lead other adult discipleship ministries such as Sunday school, elective classes, and Wednesday-night programming. I preached often on Sunday nights and several times a year on Sunday mornings. I learned so much about depending on God, building teams, and developing leaders there.
Next, we moved to Boise, Idaho, where I served as the small groups and discipleship minister. While we did some elective classes, small groups were our main way to develop disciples. I developed a working system for the small groups ministry, developed leaders, and helped groups grow and begin to multiply. I also preached regularly and was involved in other church leadership.
From 2001 to 2012, I was the Groups Minister at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. I developed our small groups ministry into a dynamic, growing, multiplying, healthy ministry of more than 100 groups with a strong system of coaching, equipping, and other support for leaders.
In 2012, I left the staff of Northeast to launch Small Group Leadership. I launched the ministry to leverage the experience and understanding God has given me to help equip ordinary people with training and resources to courageously lead extraordinary small groups.
I’ve edited for major Christian publishing companies and have written more than 25 books and discussion guides as well as hundreds of magazine, newspaper, and web-based articles. I’ve also helped churches and other organizations write and edit written materials, especially studies based on weekend sermon messages. I currently work with several large Christian publishers and other ministries writing and ghostwriting small group curriculum and other resources with widely known Christian leaders. See the Small Group Leadership store to discover more about my books.
To see more about my education and experience, see my profile on LinkedIn.
I met my incredible wife Heidi at Cincinnati Christian University in 1988 and we married on June 16, 1990. Heidi ministers in a variety of ways outside our family, but one of her main passions is signing and working with deaf people. Heidi is also my biggest supporter and encourager in my ministry. We have four adult children: Jordan, Dru, Sarah, and Anna, who are our most vital ministry.
You may notice that I often illustrate points with cycling (especially mountain biking) stories or examples from other sports. I grew up playing baseball, basketball, bowling, and any other sport I and my friends could play, even if we had to make up the rules. Today, I mostly ride my bike with friends on the road and on the trail. We participate in several charity events, including the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure (I’m on the planning committee in Kentucky and am the Red Rider chair for the event; I’ve lived with type-1 diabetes for more than 45 years), the Bike to Beat Cancer, and others. In 2015, at age 55, I rode my first century (100 miles) in the Bike to Beat Cancer event.
I blog about living with diabetes, writing, family, and other topics on my “Highs & Lows” page at MichaelCMack.com.