I recently joined a three-month Bible study/mentoring program at my church. I’m learning a lot through it, some just through reading the simple participation contract. One line requires us to commit to attending every meeting and calling as soon as possible if a crisis prevents us from coming. After years in youth ministry that makes coming (and going), so easy, I find this very refreshing. But the surprising commitment to me was the confidentiality agreement. I assumed it would say something like, “I won’t repeat outside of our meetings any personal information I hear in our meetings.” But this is the commitment: “I will not share any personal information about my family or friends without their permission.” We want people in the group to keep our secrets, and this agreement ensures that. But it also forces us to agree there are some secrets that we have no business sharing, that we need to extend the same kindness of confidentiality to everyone. It might not be the best choice for all small groups, but for a very focused, short-term group, I think it’s brilliant.