As much as many of us would want to, we don’t always get to remain in the same community in church.

Sometimes, members may leave the cell group because they are entering a new station of life or because they are going to another country for university or work. Other times, we go through restructuring in church and our cell groups have to be reorganised. 

When seasons like these come around, it often means that it’s time for closure. So how do we close the chapter well as a community? 

The truth is, farewells need not always be sad and dreadful. They can be moments of celebration and thanksgiving as we remember how God has journeyed with us, as well as how we have journeyed with one another as a community. 

So if it’s time to say goodbye soon, here are 5 things you can do together to end well!

1. Consolidate

As with any journey, it is always wise to look back on how we have walked through it with God. Doing so allows us to keep track and give thanks for the work that God has done in us, both individually and as a community.

What are some lessons that God has taught us as a community? How have we grown as a community? Take time to reflect on questions like these as a community, and we will start to notice God’s fingerprints and guidance over our journey together. 

Even as we move on, we can remember and celebrate the work God has done beyond the fun shared and memories made.

2. Encourage

As we look back on our journey together, we can also take time to appreciate and encourage one another.

How has your community journeyed with you through the seasons and your struggles? What are some unique strengths you appreciate about the community or certain individuals within it?

Take time to express your gratitude to one another and affirm each other’s strengths. This can actually empower one another to steward these strengths and grow in them, so that we continue being a blessing to serve others wherever we go next.

If you have strong, trusted relationships with your current cell group members, you can also consider pointing out each others’ blindspots (with grace and in love) so as to spur one another to grow in Christlikeness. 

Doing so with love and humility, we can continue to help each other grow in holiness even beyond our time together as a community.

3. Reconcile

Regardless of how long or short we have journeyed together as a community, there will have been some misunderstandings or disagreements along the way.

When it comes to closure, it is all the more important to face and tackle these unresolved tensions.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)

The Word of God reminds us to make every effort to live in peace with everyone. Matthew 5:23-26 also emphasises the importance of seeking reconciliation in our relationships so as to eradicate any foothold for sin.

When it is time for a community to seek closure, this is important because it prevents any form of bitterness from being harboured in our hearts. If unresolved, however, bitterness can begin to take root in our hearts and affect the way we see relationships and communities in church. This can threaten the unity of our spiritual communities.

So, think about who are the cell group members you need to communicate and reconcile with. Who knows, your friendships might even be strengthened and deepened through this!

4. Invest 

Just because a community is moving towards closure, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationships we share will have come to a close. Instead, it’s a good chance to assess whether these are friendships that we hope to keep beyond the cell group structure.

If we hope to journey with these friends in the seasons beyond, it means that we need to practise intentionality and continue investing in these relationships even as we bring the community’s chapter together to a close.

For instance, you can write a card, drop a text or have a personal meet-up to communicate your hope for the friendship.

5. Expect

While we’ve talked about looking back to celebrate and cherish the memories we shared with our cell group, it is also important for us to look ahead and be expectant towards the new chapter with our new communities.

Keep the friendships with one another. Have a good farewell. Make your friendship bracelets… but also encourage each other to be open to your respective new communities.

Expect new memories and new journeys with them, and allow God to work through your new community as He continues to do His work in you.

Just as you have found a spiritual family that you cherish in your current or previous group, God can do the same (and even greater things) in the new group!

At the end of the day, regardless of how our old or new communities are, we can give thanks and embrace every season of our lives because we know that God is sovereign, and His plans for us are good and purposeful.

Trust that He is working for your good, and no part of the journey will ever be wasted.

  1. How do you feel about your current cell group?
  2. Are there people that you can appreciate or seek reconciliation with?
  3. What is one thing you can do today to cherish your cell group more?