April 16, 2021

Church Cliques

Man AloneI’m sure it has happened to us at one time or another. Because of who we are, what we wore or something we have said we have found ourselves on the outside looking in. I’m not totally sure how cliques form. It could be our unending desire to find meaning in life by who our friends are. It could be a desire for companionship. It could be because we do not like change. For whatever reason, we find groups of people and others find and establish other groups and we’re defined by them and it’s hard to get into them once they are formed.

All that to say, cliques tend to also be a place where those that are in tend to look down on those who are not, and the new people seldom get recognized. This is a cultural (in someways high school-ian) invention that has found its way into our churches. Of all places, our churches should be places where– regardless of your passion to scrapbook and another’s to blog– we should be able to have a lot to talk about and share because of our mutual passion of following after God.

The problem is, the minor things all too often take the place of the major ones. You see, we tend to link up everywhere we go. The latest place is online– we place people in blogrolls, we have social networking sites, we have buddy lists, friends lists– just about any list you can name. Talk to those you like, ban those you don’t. Place them in categories, vote for the stories you like– but I’m getting off on a tangent!

In our churches we are to love one another. Why?

  • Because Christ loved us– we have a common Lord and Savior.
  • Because Christ said that they will know we are Christians by our love.
  • Because we will all live together for eternity.
  • Because we all are parts of the body of the bride of Christ and each member has its own function that we cannot live without.

I’ve heard it said that we have to love everyone, but not necessarily like them all. When it comes to the body of believers, however, we should not be keeping people from associating with us because they have curly hair or because our group was formed with three women a while back and you have to have gone through certain things in order to relate to us.

We need to be ministering to one another and building each other up. How can we do that if we only take the time to get involved of the lives of the people that are in our clique? We may miss the blessing that someone else could give us with a different point of view. We also may make a believer turn away from our assembly simply because they couldn’t find someone loving enough to put themselves and their clique aside for the edification of the body of Christ.

Check what Christ did in His earthly ministry. Certainly, He chose twelve and taught them. That didn’t stop him from performing miracles. There were hundreds that followed Him. His miracles were to the relatively obscure ones– the ones on the fringes. He chose to dine at houses where others would not consider to be on his level. Observe how He let the little children come unto Him. He had a group of friends, but not a clique.

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8 thoughts on “Church Cliques

  1. I’ve often asked myself if it’s really a clique or if some women just relate better to each other and don’t realize how it comes across? For instance, we’re having a baby boom in our church right now, one that I’m not a part of! :O( Those expecting mamas are really tight, and it doesn’t bother me. My youngest has graduated the baby nursery and is now in the toddler one. Out of the twenty or so young moms (and I class myself as a young mom even at 31!) there are a few who seem a bit snobby. I mean, they ignore me if I’m in the same room. How much of this is just awkwardness…what do we have in common to talk about? I don’t know. I never meet a stranger, so when I do find myself in a silentlyawkward situation it throws me.

    Once I was invited to join a “clique” of 3 women at church, and believe me, I didn’t realize the significance of it till I was having lunch with them later. Scared me to death. What if they didn’t like me and so what if they didn’t? Or did? I distanced myself from them.

    I’m grateful for these experiences, and like I tell my girls, when things happen to make you feel the odd person out, it makes you a more compassionate person. There are some gems in the church, very quiet women, that get missed completely. I’ve discovered some of them, and I’ve been blessed.

    The hardest thing for me, as far as feeling out of the loop, is that my husband’s job allows him to get to church only a couple Sundays a month whereas most of the couples attend as couples. So our socializing with them is limited, which suits my dh. He’s a pretty private guy and extremely busy on his off-time.

    The other hard thing, is we left our church for a while after a horrible split. Our leaving coincided with my dad taking on the pastoring of a nearby church, so we used the excuse of wanting to be in on his preaching as a way of leaving peacefully. But we’ve been back for 3 years now and our old friendships are stilted and feel…strange. A couple of people genuinely enjoy our company and it means so much, let me tell you!

  2. Interstingly, I have not had to deal with this too much. I have always been te odd one out, but never really thought about it as being clique like at my last church. and at this one, i sure dont feel that way.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  3. Very funny MIN! (the father in law comment)

    I have experienced both sides of the clique issue. I think that a lot of it is that you can only get to know and really have relationship with so many people. Often our schedules are so busy that we cannot make plans with those we DO know.

  4. After 9 years at the same church, I can say I finally have friends and yes, the clique problem is HUGE!

    The funny thing is the people who are IN will always blame the people who are OUT for not being friendly and outgoing enough or something, or make up an excuse such as “they have their friends, I have mine”. They don’t see themselves as cliqueish.

    I have one daughter, in particular, who has experienced this in the most painful way. It defies explanation, she’s everything a young lady should want in a friend. We are looking forward to seeing what God does in her life with this experience.

    Thanks for being bold enough to bring it up!

    And thanks for adding me to your “clique”!

  5. My wife usually complained that our church was cliquish, and we aren’t that big and I had the exact same response as you mentioned, Rebecca– well, get out there and make friends and move yourself into a group of friends.

    I actually received an award at a summer camp for Christian living because I didn’t have a particular clique– and here I thought it was because I only had like two friends there and figured I had to meet people! It’s strange because it’s so natural to want to have a core group of friends, and if you don’t see these people any other day than Sunday, you figure “I have to talk to them.”

    But therein lies the really interesting question. If you only see and talk to them on Sundays, are they really that close of a friend to you? And if they are meeting you thoughtout the week, shouldn’t you have time to socialize with someone else?

    Like Mary said, there are many people out there that we would do well to be friends with– let this be a challenge to us to get out there and make a difference.

  6. I have definitely experienced this. I never would have dreamt I’d run into this at my age. I am well past high school LOL. I don’t seem to have any problems at work or other places so I really don’t think it’s me.

    Most of the time church just feels like a waste of time to me. I know I should attend regularly but I just can’t find the motivation. I’m not sure I want to be part of a clique, so I often wonder what exactly do I need church for.

  7. I love to go to Church but the Pastor in our church is even in a clique it just makes me so disapointed and I hate changing Churches because you never know when you might go to one that is even worse. I pray God will help us find the right church that you don’t have to be nothing just love God and people.

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