By Bruce Raley
Groups are classified in a variety of ways. Some are identified by name. These include Sunday School, small groups, accountability groups, Adult Bible Fellowships (ABF’s), discipleship groups and more. Some are defined by function: Biblical content or Biblical community. Another way to classify groups is to ask if a group is open or closed.
While there are dozens of characteristics of an open group, David Francis has succinctly defined an open group as one that expects someone new to attend every time it meets. In general, a Sunday School class is considered an open group. It is an on-going group with a specified purpose of inviting others, as well as discovering the truths of God’s Word.
A closed group has traditionally been seen as a group of Christians who gather for spiritual growth. This group most often meets for a defined period of time around a determined content. The groups may choose to study a particular subject. Or, the group may choose to study a series of subjects for a particular period of time. When that study is complete, or that time is ended, the group often disbands and participants are encouraged to join another closed group.
Many churches struggle with getting participants into closed groups. Leaders experiment with a number of options, often to find similar prior results. Perhaps there is a reason why more people are not involved in closed groups.
Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!