Saturday, May 06, 2006

Three Types of Groups

This morning I attended a church-sponsored seminar that among other things briefly looked at three types of groups: the unbounded group, the bounded group, and the centered group.

In the unbounded group, there is little or no clarity on who is in or out. They associate with each other perhaps because they have similar interests, or like each other, or just happened to walk in on the group activity.

In the bounded group, people are defined in or out according to clearly stated rules. You are in if you agree to these rules and out if you don't.

In the centered group, people are loosely in or out depending on whether they are traveling towards or away from the group's chosen core values. This means that people who may be close to the core but traveling away from it may be less committed than people who are far from the core but traveling towards it. So where one is at is not so as important as the direction one is going.

Historically in my local church conference we had held more to the bounded group but now are being encouraged towards the centered group.


Ginnie said...

This is very interesting, Tim, because several years ago Fuller Seminary (in Pasadena) was re-working Missiology theory (Missions) and talked about concentric circles around the cross. It didn't matter on what circle (near or far) a person or people-group stood. What mattered was if they were facing the cross or turning away from it. Sounds like the same concept!

Tim Rice said...

Thanks, ginnie, for this observation. I would agree that it sounds like same or similar concept. And I think there's significant value to this concept.