One key to a healthy small group has to do with transcendence–an understanding that some things in life are bigger than yourself, like God, values, an organization’s mission, policies, the community, etc. This transcendence affects a small group in at least two ways:

First, the leader and the whole group must realize that what is truly transcendent in the group is God. He is the actual leader of the group. A healthy group meets around the presence of Christ and for his purposes and with his power. A healthy leader and a healthy group bow the knee to Christ and his mission for the group.

That leads to the second transcendent value: No one individual in a group is transcendent. The group does not revolve around one person and his or her needs, desires, issues, or personality. A healthy group agrees together on an “Action Plan” and lives by it. The group’s goals and plans begin with God’s purposes for the group, birthed out of prayer, and become transcendent for the members of the group.

The next time a group member asks, “Why don’t we do this or that?” (translation: “We should do it MY way.”), you can point to the group’s plans and goals and respond, “This is who we are.” The needs of the whole group–the community–and its values and mission are transcendent.

A person who thinks the group revolves around him can bring down the whole group. I’ve seen it happen many times. Don’t let it happen. Remember what is transcendent in your group.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded 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.

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