Are You in a Healthy Clique(s)?

I’ve heard it said, “We shouldn’t have cliques in the church.”

We need to know the definition of a clique:

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines clique as “a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons, especially: one held together by common interests, views, or purposes. clique

Using that definition of a clique: “a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons, especially: one held together by common interests, views, or purposes”:

  1. Jesus and His apostles constituted a clique. They were an identifiable group. They were often with Jesus alone. But they were also involved with Jesus when He healed many. They passed out food and gathered the leftovers when He fed 5,000 and 4,000. They could be alone with Jesus and the others or look outside the group and interact with a few or a few thousand others when needed.
  2. Peter, John, James, and Jesus was a clique within a clique. Three times they accompanied Jesus without the other apostles: transfiguration (Mark 9:2, 3), raising Jairus’s daughter from the dead (Luke 8:49-56), Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-38).
  3. Each eldership is a clique.
  4. A close family is a clique.
  5. Small groups in a church are cliques.

Is the problem being a member of “a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons, especially: one held together by common interests, views, or purposes,” or our attitude toward others who aren’t members of our groups?

I don’t hear a church saying, “We’re unfriendly.” But I sometimes see groups gravitating to their cliques after “amen” and visitors being ignored. That’s a problem.

We need to be in healthy small groups (cliques): families, friends, Bible studies, and elderships. We don’t need to be so comfortable and committed to our cliques that we can never invite a visitor to lunch because we always go to Grandmother’s house for Sunday lunch. Ignoring visitors at worship because we go directly to talk to our friends has consequences. Visitors leave saying very few or no one spoke to them.

Let’s not condemn cliques: “small exclusive circles or groups of persons, especially: those held together by common interests, views, or purposes.” Let’s encourage healthy groups.

Let’s be aware of the danger of limiting our time to people we like to be around to the extent we ignore and offend tax collectors and sinners who need healing. But we can’t function as doctors if we’re always playing golf or cards in our cliques.

There needs to be a balance of comfortable activities and making serving decisions.

To what cliques do you belong? Are they healthy?

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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