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Clique or Community?

These are exciting days and times in my life.  My family and I are approaching one year with our church.  It’s been a pretty incredible ride.  It was awesome to sit there for a while healing and breathing without any expectations, but the time for that is over.  We are finally settling in and seeing where the Lord can use us.

One of those areas is in small groups.  We have been part of one for a few months now, but that season seems to be winding down.  I was asked to help start and lead a new small group as we try to include everyone in our church in a group.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t inherent dangers involved in a small group.  I’ve seen it before and I will probably see it again.  We have all seen versions of it in our lives.  It may have been in middle and high school.  Perhaps college.  Maybe it has been an entire church.

The group becomes a clique.

The simplest definition of a clique is a group that forms and becomes exclusive.  They rarely, if ever, include someone new in the group.

It is a danger in any group of which we are a part.  We become satisfied with the status quo of those we have joined with and we don’t want anything or anyone to disturb that.

This is the furthest thing I want a new small group to be like.

Instead, I want it to be a community.  Open to anyone who wants to join.  Inclusive, full of people who will disturb me.

Something we learn from exercise is that muscle growth happens because of muscle confusion.  You have to change it up.  Do things differently.

One of those ways is for new people to stimulate the growth of the larger group.  That’s how you build community.

How do you avoid a community becoming a clique??

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  1. rickd3352013
    August 13, 2013 at 1:09 am

    “Inclusive, full of people who will disturb me.”

    My feelings exactly – and we need to be disturbed (no, you can’t get away with saying Do not Disturb – disturbed enough already). If we are serious about growing into who Christ has called us to be, complacent, little, comfort-zone seeking me has to give way…something about He must become greater and I lesser comes to mind, but I’m probably mistaken 🙂

  2. August 13, 2013 at 1:48 am

    To respond on point to your tag question Larry? Be inclusive of people – especially those who do not share your outlook or experiences. We settle far too quickly for confirmation bias and status quo, unwilling to accept challenges to how we see things. The poor and the needy don’t always wear rags, and they don’t always advertise who they are – they need to see Jesus in us as much as we need to see Him in them.

  3. August 13, 2013 at 5:17 am

    To your question: I think it might be important to switch groups from time to time. I know some like to stay together, but that is often where the cliques happen. Another inherent danger is their “talk amongst ourselves and string up the pastor.” Yeah, I had that happen back in 2009 as an elder didn’t shut his wife up and she poisoned the whole group (except another elder and his wife) and the group left to go who knows where.

  4. Robert Espinoza
    August 13, 2013 at 5:58 am

    So if the Elder would have “Shut-up” his wife all would have been better, maybe not the best choice of words. I understand your thought (I think) But ruling with an “Iron-Fist” to me is not the answer. As woman was taken out of the “rib” or “womb” are we not to protect… Most married men do not understand the concept of being the protector of their wives because they do not know what their position in the marriage should be. Christ’s death sanctified and cleansed the Church and when believers do the will of Christ it is God’s Word that cleanses us. When a man loves his wife the way Christ loved the Church, he cleanses her and makes her holy and blameless.
    I know that’s a little off subject…As I do agree with your blog Larry, just not certain comments.

    • August 13, 2013 at 6:46 am

      Robert, knowing Bill like I do, I think you took his statement a bit harshly. I’ll use an example to show how I think he meant it. My grandpa was a very quiet man. He did not rule with any sort of iron fist. My grandma was very vocal and told anyone listening what she thought. On occasion, when she had gotten so far, he would look at her and simply say her name. She would quieten down and things would settle down. He would “shut her up”. I think that’s what Bill is talking about. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

  5. mudagoos
    August 13, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I know where Rob was coming from and really appreciate the heart behind it. I also understand the need for husbands to guide and lead us. I’m one of those wives that can get off focus because I’m such a social being. My husband talks with me privately about my challenges and in public, he taps my leg if I get going on a roll. He never embarrasses, never even makes me feel like I’ve been “handled.” Just had to chime in, cause I really appreciate Rob’s heart. I also appreciate the need for these small groups to stay on focus and guard against allowing the adversary to use our talkative tendencies for his purposes and not for the glory of God. Thank you Larry for always providing a challenge.

    • August 13, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Sure, I understand Rob’s concern. After spending a lot of time reading Bill’s stuff and “talking” with him daily I feel that Bill is not an iron fist kind of husband, and that wasn’t the thought behind it. I’m pretty confident that he feels that this elder should have stepped in so that his wife wouldn’t be poisonous.

  6. August 13, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Good leadership can go a long way in keeping it from happening. Continually bringing it up–weaving it into sermons and lessons. Being the example. Things like that.

    • August 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

      I remember a group you were part of once. Clique or Community? 🙂

  7. Robert Espinoza
    August 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you guys…and I do appreciate the discussion.

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