My bible study changed formats about six months ago, maybe even longer than that, and I can't imagine it being any different. We meeting weekly, but we alternate between meeting as a large group, and splitting up between men and women. We've been meeting for 3 years now and have experienced the death of parents, marriages, and births together. There are some folks that float in and out of our circle, college students, parents, siblings, and of course, the randoms :) The women recently completed a Beth Moore study together, but it didn't quite serve the purpose for which we intended, which was to get deeper with each other. New people came in, others got behind in the schedule and couldn't catch up, people missed...it did serve God's purpose in fellowship and learning, of course, but there have been some dramas and wounds that have prevented us from getting deeper than that. The original three women in the group are still close, one woman that married in seems to be keeping her own distance, and the suggestion to get deeper is finally coming from her, so I take that as a good sign. The last woman that was part of the first couple to join beyond the core group of us (we had been together almost a year before she and her husband joined us) has stated several times that she has been so wounded in the past that she simply does not keep women friends, something that truly breaks my heart because I value women friendships so deeply, but can understand the wounded part as well. And finally, as of late, a random has been coming pretty regularly, a girl who just graduated from a Christian college, whom none of us know very well.
At a party recently a few of us were talking about this very topic, about how we don't necessarily feel comfortable disclosing personal things to people we don't know. One of the women said that she once wanted to join a bible study held by her neighbor because it was close to her house, they knew people there already, etc. but later found out that it was a closed bible study.
It seems odd that something like a bible study would not be open to everyone, however, in this position I'm in now, I can see the value of that, but it's for my own comfort. Does anyone belong to a closed study? Is it closed for certain lengths of time, and open others? Calling all opinions!