Open groups intentionally have an “extra chair” available for new members. These groups plan to increase in size by adding church visitors and friends of group members. When these groups reach a pre-determined size or an inconvenient size they reorganize into two groups.
- Provides a great way to help church visitors connect beyond worship
- Increasing the size of the group is expected and members are encouraged to invite friends, especially those without a church home, to join the group
- Apprenticeship is an effective model for leader development with the apprentice taking the lead in the new group when it divides
- It is sometimes difficult to divide the group when that becomes necessary
- The depth of sharing may be hindered as trust levels need to be reestablished with new members
Closed groups limit their membership to a designated number following an initial start up period. High commitment and regular attendance is encouraged so that a high level of trust will develop. When someone leaves a closed group, the group may invite a new person to join in order to maintain a size that encourages effective interaction.
- High level of support and trust develops
- When members experience difficult times the group ministers to their specific need
- Accountability to the group for life choices can result
- The group can become cliquish
- The group can become a power block of negativity
Open | Closed Groups
Groups can also be open/closed in which the group would plan specific times when they invite new people join and then close the membership to focus on deepening relationships. The open times coincide with seasons like the fall when people might be looking for a group to join or January when the New Year begins. The closed times intentionally focus on getting to know each other and building trust.