Some in Christian circles today often spend endless amounts of time defending the church from false doctrine and dead orthodoxy. Although these threats are important to keep the church safe from, I tend to think there is a larger problem that should be focused on the inside, beside the ongoing debate that happens outside. Concerning the issues I mentioned before, these kinds are not so easily distinguishable. For the most part, I see that the more invisible these problems are the more of a chance they slip in ‘unnoticed.’ That is why I am spending a little time defining what cliques are, since it’s made its way to the top list of reasons to leave a church. A simple Google search will show countless thousands of articles that discuss the topic at a glance. However, these findings will not tell you what exactly a ‘clique’ is within a church.
First, I want to start with defining what it’s not.
I am not referring to an Adam Sandler movie that involves a remote-controlled version of your life. If that were the case, then I would have no troubles finding all the best ways to ‘cut, skip, and edit’ all the things that I did not want to meet in my life and make things better than they actually are.
I am not referring to a special form of doctrine like Reformed and Dispensationalist theology; that engender strife and division. Though I think the church does have its once in a while kind of splits for the sake of the topic itself, the occurrence of the matter is rare.
So what is a ‘clique’, then?
In many church circles, there are many differing kinds of sub-groups within the church that usually enjoy extending their fellowship with one another and no one else. The formation of these groups usually get together, hang around, and talk to one another quite extensively with or without noticing what happens outside these miniature bubbles. Most of these folks tend to gather around after church services to ‘catch up’ for the week.
If you hang out at a particular church long enough, you’ll easily find out the categories these groups fall into. Some are the seniors who enjoy their relationships exclusively with their own; some are the teens and young adults who find interests in either sports or technology. Other categories extend to such groups like the newlyweds who find their places among other married couples and long-standing or charter members. But nothing beats them when it comes to discussing my personal favorite: the connectional [related] groups. If you wind up marrying someone in the church, the chances are, that person winds up being distinctively related to one or more members.
Hence lays the problems I have with the church; namely, that these miniature groups or ‘cliques’ have a world that lives all on their own. While you may try to find a niche within the church, the second test of sensing these kinds of cliques is the feeling of exclusivity i.e., not belonging. This is what I meant by ‘clique’, specifically on the small groups that I happen to find at different churches causing the feelings of being unwanted or non-belonged.