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Amy Jackson is managing editor of SmallGroups.com at Christianity Today. She oversees the planning and coordination of all content featured on the site.
Amy served for several years as the coordinator of small-group ministry at a local church and now brings her experience to SmallGroups.com. Amy is passionate about seeing people connect in authentic, transforming relationships through small groups. She gets excited about helping people connect with God through practicing spiritual disciplines, both individually and corporately. She has been married to Jim since 2007, and their daughter was born in 2014. They enjoy spending time outdoors, playing with their dog, Henry, and supporting local businesses and restaurants.
Editorial Advisory Panel:
Jeff Arnold received his Masters of Divinity degree (Magna Cum Laude) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. He also completed a Doctor of Ministry degree at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Jeff has served churches in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and the Pocono Mountains, serving as a youth pastor, founding pastor of a new church, associate pastor, and senior pastor. He is currently the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Beaver, PA, just north of Pittsburgh.
Jeff was married in 1986 to Karen, and they have three children: Brett (19), Heather (18), and Hannah (15). The Arnold's have also served as a foster family to four children. Karen has her Masters in Religious Education degree from Gordon-Conwell Seminary.
Jeff has authored eight books, including the recently re-released The Big Book on Small Groups and Small Group Outreach (InterVarsity Press); Seven Traits of a Successful Leader and What We Believe (Pilgrimage/NavPress); and Starting Small Groups in Your Church (Abingdon Press). Jeff is also an adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary, near Philadelphia, and Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, PA.
Tom Bandy is the Director of Thriving Church Consulting (with blogs, forums, and lots of resources on www.ThrivingChurch.com). He is a regular contributor to Net Results magazine, and develops demographic interpretation and mission resources for www.MissionInsite.com. Tom coaches Christian leaders across the cultural and theological spectrum, and consults with congregations, denominations, and faith-based non-profit organizations.
Tom's most recent books are Accelerate Your Church, Christian Mentoring: Helping Each Other Find Meaning and Purpose, and GPS: Global Positioning for the Soul. He is the author of over 18 books on church growth, mission, and spiritual life.
Joel Comiskey (Ph.D. Fuller Seminary) is founder and president of Joel Comiskey Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping churches fulfill the great commission. He has served as a missionary with the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Quito, Ecuador, planted a cell-based church in southern California, and now coaches pastors in small-group ministry.
Joel has written best-selling books on the worldwide cell group movement, including The Spirit-Filled Small Group, Coach: Empower Others to Effectively Lead a Small Group, and Planting Churches that Reproduce. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at Tozer Theological Seminary.
Joel and his wife, Celyce, have three daughters and live in Moreno Valley, California. Joel enjoys basketball, computers, and the outdoors.
Bill Easum has a thirty year track record of growing congregations in two denominations. His last church, which he pastored for twenty-four years, grew to the largest United Methodist Church in South Texas. His record of "evangelization" and "social justice" ministries was acknowledged by Industrial Areas Foundation in New York as one of the finest examples in North America. Bill is also the recipient of the prestigious Donald McGavran award for outstanding church leadership.
For the past twenty years, Bill has served as a consultant to congregations and denominations. In 1986 he founded 21st Century Strategies which in 2000 became Easum, Bandy & Associates (EBA) when he merged with Tom Bandy. In 2008, Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian reformed 21st Century Strategies Inc. Together the two Bills serve the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Bill has personally worked in over 700 congregations, some of which are the largest in the nation, and has taught hundreds of thousands of leaders. He is a regular contributor to Religious Product News, Net Results Magazine, and ezine On Track, and Co-editor of The Convergence eBook Series from Abingdon Press
Bill is the author of numerous best-selling books such as Church Growth Handbook, How to Reach Baby Boomers, Dancing With Dinosaurs, Sacred Cows Make Gourmet Burgers, The Complete Ministry Audit, Growing Spiritual Redwoods, Leadership On The Other Side, Unfreezing Moves, Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First, Under The Radar, The Nomadic Church, Go Big: Lead Your Church to Explosive Growth, Go Big with Small Groups, A Second Resurrection, Ministry in Hard Times, and Preaching for Church Transformation, all by Abingdon, Beyond the Box by Group, and Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by Church Starts by Chalice.
Bill is a graduate of Baylor University, B.A., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.D., and Perkins School of Theology, S.T.M. Bill's vice is fishing for Sail and Marlin and he releases all of his fish. Bill is married to Jan and they have one daughter, Caran.
Steve Gladen has been on staff at Saddleback Church since February 1998. He has focused on small groups in several churches for over 25 years. Steve oversees 3,500 adult small groups at Saddleback and loves seeing a big church become small through true community developed in group life. Steve oversees the strategic launch and development of small groups at Saddleback Church, as well as the Small Group Network.
He has authored Small Groups with Purpose and Leading Small Groups with Purpose, and co-authored Big Ideas for Small Group Leaders and Don't Lead Alone. He has also written DVD and non-DVD small-group curriculum.
Steve attended Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies with minors in Greek and Philosophy in 1982. From there he moved to Pasadena, California and received a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1985.
Steve does consulting and seminars internationally and domestically on championing small groups and what it means to have small groups with purpose.Steve and his wife Lisa have been married since 1989 and reside in Southern California with their two children, Erika and Ethan. Learn more about Steve at www.stevegladen.com.
Dan Lentz is Director of the Small-Group Network—a network of small-group leaders, churches, small-group resource providers, and other Christian organizations originally brought together at SmallGroups.com to provide an online place for training and support of group leaders and directors.
Over the years, Dan been has been a church planter, small-groups pastor, and has served in a variety of roles within small-groups ministries. He is also author of Let's Get Started: How to Begin Your Small-Groups Ministry.
Dan's family small-group consists of his wife, Kim, and their three children: Sam, Katie, and Grace.
Michael C. Mack founded SmallGroups.com in 1995, and he has served as a small-groups minister in several churches. He is a writer, editor, speaker, and consultant in the areas of small groups, leadership, and discipleship. He is the author of a dozen books, including his latest, Small Group Vital Signs.
Michael received his B.B.A from the University of Cincinnati in 1983, and his M.A. from Cincinnati Bible Seminary in 1993. He and his family live in Pewee Valley, Kentucky. His interests include mountain biking and a variety of sports.
Scottie May is an experienced church educator and developer of materials for children's ministries. She is coauthor of Children Matter, published by Eerdmans, and Listening to Children, published by Baker Academic.She also contributed to Perspectives on Children's Spiritual Formation: Four Views and Children's Spirituality: Children's Perspectives, Research, and Applications. Currently she is Associate Professor in the Department of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. She has a Ph.D. in education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
The Christian formation of children is an area of passion for Scottie. She has researched ways children come to faith and how the local church shapes that process. Other areas of interest are the power of the learning environments that the church creates, particularly "authentic" experiential learning, the implications of the church being "the family of God," and intergenerational worship and learning experiences.
For several years she worked as a Christian education consultant for a major curriculum publisher providing resources and workshops for about 100 churches a year. She serves in elementary-age children's ministries at her own church. Scottie is the mother of three children and has eight grandchildren.
Carter Moss is currently a Campus Pastor and Life Groups Director for Newbreak Church, a large multi-site church in sunny San Diego. Carter was also highly involved in small groups while on staff at a large multi-site chuch in Chicago for nearly 10 years. He has authored a number of small-group training resources and discussion guides, contributed to various ministry websites, and led small-group trainings around the country. In his free time, Carter writes album and concert reviews for a local music magazine, tries his hand at stand-up comedy and local clubs, and has been caught rapping on stage at church.
Randall Neighbour is president of TOUCH Outreach Ministries in Houston, Texas. He has authored numerous books on small-group life, leadership, coaching, and team-based evangelism, including The Naked Truth About Small Group Ministry, Community Life 101, and The Pocket Guide to Coaching Small Groups.
He and his wife are currently church planting with holistic small groups at the core of their strategy. His hobbies include coral propagation and renovating his 105 year old home.
Sam O'Neal is author of The Field Guide for Small Group Leaders (from InterVarsity Press) and a former Managing Editor of SmallGroups.com. Sam currently produces Bible studies and other resources for young adults as a Content Editor for Threads by LifeWay. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jessica, and their two young sons—but he will always be a Chicago Bears fan at heart.
Larry Osborne has pastored North Coast Church in Vista, California, since 1980. Under his leadership, the church has grown from 128 to over 9,000 in weekend attendance, and has been acclaimed as one of the ten most influential churches in America.
Known for its innovative approach to ministry and a deep commitment to making disciples in a healthy environment, North Coast pioneered a Sermon-Based small group model with a participation level of over 80 percent of the weekend attendance every year since 1985. North Coast also pioneered the use of Video Worship Venues and is a leader in the Multi-Site movement with over worship options on five different campuses—each targeted at a different geographical and missional demographic.
Larry has a great love for the local church and the pastors and shepherds who lead it. His warm wisdom and no-nonsense practicality make him a popular speaker on leadership and spiritual development. His books include Sticky Teams, Sticky Church, Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, Spirituality for the Rest of Us, The Unity Factor, and A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God
Ben Reed is the lead small group pastor at the Lake Forest campus of Saddleback Community Church, leading the groups team and focusing on small group health. He thrives on building healthy, biblical, authentic, life-changing communities. Ben is also the communications director for The Small Group Network. In addition to those responsibilities, he loves to write, blogging his thoughts on church, leadership, and theology at BenReed.net. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
Pat J. Sikora is a popular author and conference speaker, with several books and hundreds of articles to her credit. Her most recent book, Why Didn't You Warn Me?, equips leaders to effectively minister to challenging people.
Pat is founder and President of Mighty Oak Ministries, a ministry that provides tools, resources, and strategies to equip the Body of Christ to encourage and nurture the wounded and broken in their churches and ministries, and to help them to grow deeply, heal progressively, and mature splendidly.
Pat believes that the transformational ministry of the Word of God, applied and engrafted to real life community, will result in a display more splendid than the grandest oak. Pat is available for leadership training and conferences, large or small.
Carolyn Taketa serves as the Executive Director of Small Groups at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California, where she has been on staff since 2005. She currently oversees all aspects of the small-group ministry, participates in Calvary's senior leadership team, and contributes to planning weekend services. Prior to vocational ministry, Carolyn was an attorney (University of California, Berkeley School of Law) and a stay-home mom. She has been leading small groups for over 20 years and is passionate about biblical community and authentic leadership. She is a conference speaker, an Area Leader for the The Small Group Network, and a contributing writer for various publications. She has been married since 1994 and is blessed with two daughters. You can follow Carolyn on Twitter @TaketaCarolyn.