Just yesterday Lyman Coleman received an honorary doctorate, kinda. Lyman is the pioneer of small groups as we know them today. He has become a dear friend and co-dreamer. Lyman had agreed to lead sessions at NEXT, the Saddleback Small Group Conference Saturday, May 16th. One day while Lyman and I were talking he mentioned in passing that a prestigious Christian College wanted to give him an honorary doctorate but that he had passed on it because the degree was to be given him the same day he was scheduled to lead sessions in Cincinnati. I assured him we could get by without him and that receiving an honorary doctorate was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I don’t remember Lyman’s exact words he responded with but they went something like this… “That’s only paper, there are people at the conference.” He was much more focused on other people being set free than receiving a doctorate for himself. A few of the leaders at the conference decided he would receive an honorary doctorate, not from an accredited institution though. The piece of paper Lyman received in front of an audience of small group pastors and leaders reads:
having changed the world and having set tens of thousands of people free is hereby awarded this
Generations are indebted to you.
Most of us will never receive an honorary doctorate of any kind from anyone, even a “kinda” degree. But it is possible for us to lead groups that set people free.
Thanks, Lyman for teaching so many of us what it means to care for people like Jesus does!