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Lyman Coleman: Small Groups, Remember to Reach Out

If Father Sam were alive today, I know what he would say to leaders who are starting or reviving a small group, and I would like to pass it along:

(An excerpt from Sam Shoemaker’s poem “I Stand by the Door”)

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from people as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door—
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But—more important for me—
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
“I had rather be a door-keeper…”
So I stand by the door.

My challenge to you as a pastor or a leader of a small group is simple: Don’t forget the “door people.” Reach inside and outside the doors of your church. Here’s to your ministry. Here’s to what God is going to do through you as a minister of Jesus Christ.   

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LYMAN COLEMAN is widely regarded as a pioneer of the modern-day small group movement in churches. He was the founder of Serendipity House Publishing and is now retired (mostly) in Denver, Colorado. This is article is adapted from his introduction to Small Group Ministry in the 21st Century (Group Publishing, Inc.).