In the Pew: Dealing with Church Cliques

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Intro: Question–Do you think clicks exist in church or is everyone too Christian to go through that?


Morgan waved to the new girl and motioned for her to come and sit with them at the table where the praise and worship team sat looking at a list of songs for the new year.

“What are you doing?” Kelly whispered as she watched Tessa, the new girl, heading their way.

Morgan frowned. “I’m inviting Tessa to sit with us.”

“We know that!” Julie said with eyes wide. “But, why? I don’t really think she fits in with us.”

“She’s a little different.” Nelli added. “She can find other people to sit with.”

“Shh, she’s coming.” Kelly suddenly got busy with the songbook.

Morgan shook her head, not believing what was coming out of her friend’s mouth. A soft hello interrupted any further thoughts as Tessa sat next to her.

“Hey!” Morgan grinned. “Glad you came to church today.”

Tessa tucked a strand of her dark hair behind her ear. She smiled shyly; her light brown eyes sparkling. “Me too.”

“Do you sing?” Nelli asked, leaning forward and staring at the new girl.

Morgan’s eyes widened. How rude. She didn’t even say hello to Tessa.

“Sort of,” Tessa replied, looking a little uncomfortable.

“Did you ever used to sing at your other church?” Julie’s eyes bore into Tessa.

Tessa looked at Morgan, then at Nelli, then at Julie. “Hmm, this is the first church I’m attending. I didn’t go to one in my last town.”

A soft gasp escaped from the girls. Morgan rolled her eyes at her friend’s reaction. Seriously, what was wrong with them?

“Why didn’t you go to church before?” Kelly asked as she leaned forward as if waiting to hear some dark secret.

“Tessa!” The voice of a man interrupted their conversation as Tessa’s father called they were leaving. After a quick goodbye, Morgan turned to her friends with a mortified look on her face. Her green eyes flashing with anger.

“How could you make Tessa feel so weird when she came to sit here? That is so not right!” Morgan could feel her blood boiling.

“Why are you so angry, Mor? She truly doesn’t fit with us.” Nelli crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair.

“And she never went to church before!” Julie exclaimed.

“Can you imagine what a bad influence she could be on us?” Kelly’s curls looked as wild as her eyes did at that instance.

Morgan shook her head and turned to her friends. “I am so humiliated at your attitudes. We stand on stage and sing and play instruments, pretending to be so spiritual, yet here we are excluding people who come to church. What kind of people are we? We’re being hypocritical! Exactly the opposite of what God wants us to be. We can’t talk about God’s love and be like this. This is wrong!” Morgan felt tears threatened to erupt. With a quick movement, she grabbed her bag, stood up, and left the group. Her heart pounding wildly.

How does God feel when we make exceptions for people?

This displeases God. He created everyone equal and does not like us being clicky or leaving people out. In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees and all those men excluded every person who didn’t think or act like them–they even criticized Jesus for hanging out with people like the Samaritan woman or Zacchaeus.

What can you do about that?

Pray and ask the Lord to give us love to love and accept those people. It is not easy, but we can achieve it with God’s help.

What verse is key to loving and including others, even when they are different from us?

Read Acts: 10:1 to 48. It is a beautiful story about Peter visiting Cornelius, a Roman centurion.

10 in the city of Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a Roman army officer in what was called the Italian Unit. 2 He was a religious man. He and all the others who lived in his house were worshipers of the true God. He gave much of his money to help the poor people and always prayed to God. 3 One afternoon, about three o’clock, Cornelius had a vision. He clearly saw an angel from God coming to him and said, “Cornelius!”

4 Staring at the angel and feeling afraid, Cornelius said, “What do you want, sir?”

The angel said to him, “God has heard your prayers and has seen your gifts to the poor. He remembers you and all you have done. 5 Send some men now to the city of Joppa to get a man named Simon, who is also called Peter. 6 He is staying with someone also named Simon, a leatherworker who has a house beside the sea.” 7 The angel who spoke to Cornelius left. Then Cornelius called two of his servants and a soldier. The soldier was a religious man, one of his close helpers. 8 Cornelius explained everything to these three men and sent them to Joppa.

(Peter went with the men – but he had a vision before that–you need to read it)

The next day, Peter got ready and went away with the three men. Some of the believers from Joppa went with him. 24 The next day they came to the city of Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them and had already gathered his relatives and close friends at his house.

25 When Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him. He fell down at Peter’s feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter told him to get up. Peter said, “Stand up! I am only a man like you.” 27 Peter continued talking with Cornelius. Then Peter went inside and saw a large group of people gathered there.

28 Peter said to the people, “You understand that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit anyone who is not a Jew. But God has shown me that I should not consider anyone unfit or say they are not pure. 29 That’s why I didn’t argue when your men asked me to come here. Now, please tell me why you sent for me.”

(Then Cornelius tells Peter everything and Peter in return tells all the people gathered there about Jesus)

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came down on all those who were listening to his speech. 45 The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit had been poured out as a gift also to people who were not Jews.

So the Jews thought that anyone that wasn’t a Jew should know about God or be his follower because they thought they were unclean.

If that was the case today, none of us would be Christians and know about Jesus and His love because we aren’t Jews. But God destroyed all that–to him we are equal.


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