CLIQUES VS. THE BODY OF CHRIST
by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
There is a difference between a clique and the Body of Christ.
The definition of clique is an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose. The synonyms are interesting.
A clique is also called “coterie, ingroup, inner circle, pack, camp.”
There is a threefold bond that cliques have in common with believers in the local church.
1. Both desire connection.
2. Both desire a sense of belonging.
3. Both desire a sense of God worth, God value, and God purpose.
Depending upon the size of the local church, association of cliques along these lines manifests among several inter-communities of believers. In other words, within a local church, there could be several interconnected or disconnected cliques operating apart from the Body of Christ. Paul called them “schisms.”
Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 1 and verse 10 that, “…there be no divisions among…” them. If you haven’t noticed, schisms means division.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, Paul understood that when sectarianism takes place, the local church is fractured and it won’t last because contentions in the Body is very destructive.
In Mark chapter 3, verses 24 – 26 (NIV), the Lord Jesus said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.”
Contention’s root cause is personality conflicts and egos.
You could be called a pastor but for some reason, they cannot receive from you because of your personality or because of pride in the heart of the believer, they refuse to receive. So, they pursue associations with a company of people that feel comfortable with their personality. And sometimes that company is a company of egotistical people.
In the negative, you may be a part of a clique that is against pastoral leadership. Sometimes, this clique exist because of some kind of wound inflicted by the pastor (whether knowingly or unknowingly).
Sometimes believers do not know the difference between pastoral leadership and pastors wounding people in the church. That’s because sometimes hurt happens so often to some believers in church, that when pastoral leadership is exerted, it is mistaken for pastoral hurt.
For instance, when the pastor places a policy that everyone is to meet for prayer before choir rehearsal. All of a sudden, each week, the one that is to sing the solo constantly and intentionally miss prayer. Then the pastor steps in and sits the “soloist” down.
While it is important to find out the reason, it is left up to the pastor to enforce the policy. When they are told that they cannot sing, believers feel wounded. But the policy must be enforced because it is not fair to the other choir members. Latitude is given to understand the reason for not attending prayer but if the reason is not legitimate, the pastor has no choice but to enforce the policy.
Sometimes people are not persons under authority. In other words, they do not want to be told anything that would undermine their rule of cliques. The rule is simple; never submit to authority, especially pastoral authority. And if there is people closely associated with the pastor, make life difficult for the associated. Resist everything they say and do.
Cliques are born out of a rebellious nature. When the pastor exercises Biblical leadership and pastoral authority according to Isaiah 40:11, Acts 20:28, Hebrews 13:17, and 1 Peter 5:1-3, people will either come under that authority or reject it. It is not right for the pastor to coerce or manipulate people to follow.
It is the pastor’s job to foster church atmosphere where people can be a part of the local church. It also demands that the pastor quickly eliminate anything that counters the Christ like flow of the local church, including cliques.
Eliminating the clique will take firm Christ like pastoral leadership, love, grace, and a willingness to divert their energy from destructive habits to constructive unity. Remember, Jesus loves everyone. However, such love is not to be taken as weakness and permission to engage in destructive behaviors.
Psalm 23, the latter portion of verse 4 states, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
When it comes to a pastor fostering the Christ like atmosphere in the church, he or she will use the staff, not the rod. The staff is used to rescue, guide, and fold the flock of God. It is never to be used as a weapon of choice or used to separate, and cause divisions.
The staff is only used in the case of sin among rebellious believers, and a refusal of the clique and clique leaders to drop the issue of disunity in the church, that separation is warranted. A pastor cannot afford to spend a disproportionate amount of time diffusing issues. We are to spend precious time being on fire for God, not putting out clique fires among believers.
When cliques are causing a disturbance in the church, the Lord gives grace to a pastor to diffuse the disturbance. Pastors that know their flock according to Proverbs 27:23, will seek to bring understanding, healing where necessary, and firm spiritual leadership to bring people together before things get out of hand.
All disturbances will have a demonic root cause.
There is a difference between disagreements and disturbances.
Disagreements can be resolved or a person may choose to agree to disagree. Bringing a disturbance is attempting to violently bring about attention to a position that cliques want established. Disturbances requires a usurping of pastoral authority, or any authority for that matter.
When a disturbance takes place, it is important for the pastor to stop the disturbance before it gets ugly.
WHY DO CLIQUES EXIST? What’s the difference between the two groups?
It’s about the kind and reason for the connection. When there is a person or group of people disconnection from the godly group, they will form a clique. The difference between the godly group and the clique is twofold. The difference is the substance undergirding the reason for the connection.
THE FOUNDATION OF GODLY CONNECTIONS
Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, and walking in love is the foundation of godly connections in the Body.
The counterfeit of godly connections is ill-conceived misunderstandings based on speculation, assumption, mis-information or lack of facts about the godly group.
THE REASON CLIQUES EXIST
The reasons varies but the common denominator is that you believe, whether true or not, that the godly group has something against you. Therefore, you have something against the godly group. This happens because cliques never get to the real fact of the matter.
Sometimes people never get to resolution because of the heat or rage within the mind of the cliques and clique leaders. The only thing that matters to cliques is the nuance of the issue. It’s called “drama.”
THE MISTAKE OF PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH
The mistake of believers in the local church is that they make unrealistic set of additional rules that are not Biblical. Almost like a sorority. Sometimes it is designed to keep others away that they wrongly consider as undesirable for association. Certain ungodly rules from a group professing to be godly is a form of rejection. These things is not consistent with Biblical or Christlike fellowship based on 1 John chapters 3 & 4.
THE MISTAKE THAT THE LOCAL CHURCH CANNOT AFFORD TO MAKE
Permission of inconsistent lifestyles. Permission of sin, confusion, discord, disunity, disharmony, gossip, backbiting, hating, jealousy, wrath, and sexual immorality of any kind. You’d be surprised of the cliques that want to keep their sin in the church. Pastors and the believers in the local church cannot compromise to have peace among believers. The only peace that is allowed is through the shed blood of Jesus. He brought peace through the blood of His cross. Peace with God, that is. To permit sin to coexist is error of the highest kind.
THE MISTAKE OF CLIQUES
You feel you can’t be a part of the godly group because you’ve misconceived in your own mind that you can’t get in. This is all dependent upon what you want to bring to the table of the local church. Then what happens is that a wide range of self generated unjustified acts against the local church is initiated when what you desire to bring is inconsistent with the Word of God, and against pastoral policy. Then there is generated reasons and actions that are completely graceless and baseless. Such as…
1. Lack of facts, even half baked truths.
2. Ridiculous hear say.
Misinformation, misunderstanding, misconstrued information, and misconception emitted from clique leaders always miss the point. They are missing the one ingredient. The Body looks to love, not hate. Connect not assume connections. Pursue God and peace with everybody while learning to walk in the Spirit.
Misinformation could be demonically inspired if you refuse to confirm or affirm any information against the righteous principles, the Word of God.
If you are looking to bring in your godless lifestyle, then that is reason enough to make adjustments in your life to line up with the Word of God to be a part of the godly group.
Cliques develop a mirror of what is seen in the godly group and they attempt to establish connections with others that agree with your heart.
Most cliques will mirror what the Body of Christ is doing except when it comes to the core reason of existence.
The difference between cliques and the believers in the local church is known in three areas according to Romans 14:17.
1. Righteousness in the Holy Spirit.
2. Peace in the Holy Spirit.
3. Joy in the Holy Spirit.
A clique will not have any of these things evident. They will give the appearance but the substance, the depth, and serious commitment to righteously connect will be found to be lacking.
People that are connected to cliques are not right, they have no peace, and they are not happy or joyful.
Cliques are disgruntled, disillusioned, dissatisfied, and disconnected.
BUSTING THE CLIQUE
What is the remedy? How do you prevent yourself from joining a clique?
WALK IN THE SPIRIT
It’s found in Galatians 5:16-26.
When we walk in the Spirit, we will erase cliques and become the Body of Christ. You must remember that the devil will do anything to divide the Body of Christ. The devil will use any device (fiery darts) to burn a hole in the defense of the local church. We must be vigilant against the devil and not be tricked into yielding the smallest weapon in the devil’s arsenal. Our tongues (see James chapter 3).
We have to learn to keep our minds holy and our mouths shut. Except to speak the Word of God.
HUMILITY, HUMBLENESS OF MIND
“Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Proverbs 16:19
The same energy that it takes to be proud is the same energy used to walk humbly before God and people. It’s a matter of the human will to climb down from Mount Ego to walk in the Valley of Humility. The shadow of death is always in the valley, never in the mountains. You might feel justified establishing a clique that is crosswise of the flow in the local church. But what did you gain? Dividing the spoil with the proud. Humility, and humbleness of mind will always prevent episodes of humiliation.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.
WALK IN LOVE
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2
It takes just a decision to walk in love. Cliques can be destroyed when we choose to take the road that Christ walked on. You will not have any time to be a clique when you give yourself like He gave Himself to the church.
The result is that you will come out smelling as a sweet sacrifice to God.
To do anything else just plain stinks.
Like the example Dr. Earl Johnson gave about the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel chapter 37.
When the bones were commanded to come together, they clicked and clacked as they came across each other. But the noise of the clicking and clacking came to an end. After the bones came together, the skin came back to the bodies and the breath of life came in to the bodies.
Sooner or later, the noise of cliques will end, the Body will come together, and God will breath the breath of life in us so we can live.
Remain exceedingly abundantly blessed in Jesus! Ephesians 3:20