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My ideal small group would have included three good friends: Lynn, Margaret, and Susan. But I figured it could never happen. They were all busy people. We saw each other in church on Sunday and exchanged e-mail through the week, but the last thing any of us needed was another weekly meeting to attend.

The four of us operated in different spheres with little overlap. Lynn was a young mother of three in a world of playgroups and preschools. Margaret, 50, was an administrator at a local college, single, with a master's degree. Susan, 28, led an active parachurch ministry on campus, so her hours aligned with those of college students.

Seeing no convenient time or place for us to meet, I nearly abandoned my dream of forming a group. Then early one morning I turned on my computer to retrieve my e-mail. My inbox contained three messages: one from Lynn, one from Susan, one from Margaret.

At that moment, I saw a possible solution. Our meeting place had been right in front of me all along. Why not ...

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