Healthy closure of any group experience is extremely important. It can help group members process and define their experience and positively set the stage for a new group. On the other hand, poor group closure can lead to barriers for a member's future involvement with groups.
Poor group closure can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
1. Lack of casting a vision for launching a new group, which can catch members off guard.
2. Burnout of the leader—a desire to "get things over with." This prevents the leader from honoring the positive things God has done in the group.
3. Not giving the closure process enough time. Members will need to process the situation ahead of time, and will need at least one meeting set aside for discussion, reflection, and celebration.
4. The most destructive form of group closure occurs when a group ends with unresolved conflict or, worse yet, ends because of conflict.
Healthy group closure can be categorized into five steps, and are modeled perfectly through Jesus' actions during the Last Supper.
Consolation (John 16:29–33): Groups who have formed deep bonds with one another will need to recognize a wide variety of feelings associated with the closure of the group. Members may feel joy, sadness, or a sense of loss. Those feelings may be expressed with a variety of behaviors: laughter, excitement about the future, tears, or emotional distancing. Each member should be encouraged to identify their feelings and express them appropriately. Respect for each person's feelings should be given.
Celebration (Mark 14:13–16): When bringing closure to a group experience, it is critical to celebrate God's presence and activity within the group. This ...