From Clique to Community

How to keep your small groups from turning into cliques.

You've seen them walk by. The "cooler than thou" group. The group that everyone in the church wants to be a part of and everyone outside of the church blames as the reason why they don't come.

Most of us became aware of cliques in high school: the preps, the jocks, the high-achievers, and the rockers, to name a few. Ancient cliques included groups like the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Hellenists, who condemned everyone and only enjoyed the company of each other.

We know how cruel kids can be, but we forget that church members and leaders can be just as cold-hearted and narrow-minded.

When our mindset is not one of multiplying people who disciple others and mentors, then we miss out on one of the most fundamental assets of the church: an individual's capacity to minister to another individual. We know that not everyone is called to be a teacher or a leader, but every member is called to minister.

We're reminded of this in 1 Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

Inside out and out of the boat
Small groups within the church have the tendency to keep themselves from turning "inside out." We're afraid to reach out to new people. When we have community, we have a safe, secure, and friendly lifeboat. But this lifeboat isn't just for us. It's for everyone else who needs a lifeboat also. They're reaching out with interests, wants, and needs. Yet, we're often not willing to open up the boat because it may interfere with our own community.

It all starts with a better plan, different from sitting ...

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