Roger Grainger has addressed an issue which he is well versed in and has written some books on it in past. This study, however, is extremely relevant since it has been done specifically from a perspective of the Church of England. Although a lot has been written on small groups in the United States, and elsewhere, the focus of the present study is unique and will be an asset not only to the Church of England in the United Kingdom but also, as one commentator has written, "to the entire Christian Fraternity on the issue of Group Learning". The basic premise is that a more experimental approach to Group Work might usefully be adopted. The Bible provides evidence in both the Old and New Testaments of the awareness involved in group belonging. Within the UK the Church of England concentrates its congregational training in one kind group-based format: process evangelism. But this format neglects more experiential and less directive kinds of group work, which may more effectively educate church members in Christian belonging.
In order to discover how different groupwork structures affect learning, three different group formats -- one directive and two experiential -- are compared on a longitudinal basis. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis the principal themes emerging from members self-reports of the different structures reveal four value constructs which play a dominant role in all three kinds of group but with respective prominences and potential enrichments. The practical significance of this for Christian group work -- and for religious education in general -- is considered, arriving at a strategy for congregational training applicable to the church as a whole.
Roger Grainger is the author of a number of books, including The Language of the Rite (Darton, Longman and Todd); The Message of the Rite (Lutterworth); and The Drama of the Rite (published by SAP in 2008), the final book in the trilogy. He has also written about therapeutic theatre, group spirituality, and bereavement; and combines parish work with his practice as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist. His latest book is Nine Ways the Theatre Affects Our Lives.