June 10, 2010 | Comments Off
My husband was recently diagnosed with a serious illness. We don’t have enough information yet to know how advanced it is or how quickly it will progress. We shared the news with our son last week. Tonight we shared it with our small group. We’ve been with most of these people for over six years. They love us and will stand with us. This is one of many reasons I’m a firm believer in closed, long-lasting groups.
When groups are short-lived, lasting deep relationships usually don’t develop. I’ve been in many such groups that were deep while we were together, but as soon as the group was over, people drifted back to their previous relationships. It’s sad, but the reality is that we can only have so many close people at a time and out of sight is out of mind. Within a month or two, people I thought would be intimate friends forever became acquaintances.
The same is true in an open group where people are free to join and leave, or cell groups that multiply and divide regularly. In such cases, members often don’t risk close relationships because they know things will change before long. Such groups are a great way to meet a lot of people and feel enfolded in a church or ministry. But when life comes crashing in and you need friends to stand with you for the long haul, a closed continuing group can’t be beat.