Dealing with cliquish-ness and jealousy in my small church gathering

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Amethyst

Angie ... †
I need advice. I have been part of a small church plant since May. The reasons I found this church is because i knew he did expository preaching and was planting right within 10 miles of my home.
Anyway only the pastor and his wife and another couple are around my age and so i was hopeful that we could form somewhat of a friendship. We all only just met each other over late spring early summer. So there is no previous 'bond' going on.
Anytime we have small gatherings in more intimate settings (like a game night or small retreat) pastors wife and other woman always seem to snuggle up and talk to each other and dont even bother to try to include me in the conversation. Not even glance over at me to acknowledge my existence. It is not like they are "mean girls", they are nice and want to grow in the Lord so I cant say they are being outright sinful and cruel.
I dont know how i am supposed to come at this. I suppose they have a lot more in common than me, both growing up in church atmosphere etc..
I have tried to hand this over to the Lord many times. I start to dread going to church because I just feel left out. But I really like the pastor and his teaching and another older couple are very sweet and inclusive with me. Very genuine.
I think the Lord may be having me grow in some way, I have tried asking show me what you want me to learn from this. I have forgiven many little incidents and given them to Him but at the same time it makes me dread the feelings of being left out yet again.

I have asked HIm to please give me friends who want my company and have more in common with me etc and just to avoid them and not 'try' to fit in. And so again I try to think they are just two people in a world of millions
but then last night i overheard them discussing a morning get together they were going to have and it just got to me all over again.
If I wasnt in church with either fo them I likely would not seek out their friendship bc we are little different but I am in church and I thought i am supposed to pursue friendship/ unity.

How should I be feeling about this in a scriptural way? :frown
 
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alisani

Well-Known Member
In my mind, you are going about this the right way. You forgive, you take it to God in prayer, and you're open to His work in your heart without being preoccupied with theirs.

I can imagine that this is painful. We all need a sense of belonging, especially among our fellow believers. I don't know that I have any advice, other than to keep doing what you're doing. Keep your heart soft and full of love. I'll be in prayer for you and this situation. Doing good can be a wearying business, especially when we give that love and don't receive it in return.

Galatians 5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other's burdens and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

May God sustain and grow you. I suspect, like you, that He is indeed doing that in this situation.
 

Reason & Hope

Well-Known Member
Have you tried joining their conversation? Maybe before they sequester themselves, you could try talking to one of them. Have a question or story ready to start a conversation. From smalltalk "how was your Christmas" or a compliment to something specific to the sermon or the church. You could even try joining their conversation after they are together, depending on how huddled they appear.

It's possible that pastor's wife doesn't feel comfortable getting to know people, which is terrible for a church planter by the way! I'm curious what the pastor is doing to grow this little church.
 

Amethyst

Angie ... †
Have you tried joining their conversation? Maybe before they sequester themselves, you could try talking to one of them. Have a question or story ready to start a conversation. From smalltalk "how was your Christmas" or a compliment to something specific to the sermon or the church. You could even try joining their conversation after they are together, depending on how huddled they appear.

It's possible that pastor's wife doesn't feel comfortable getting to know people, which is terrible for a church planter by the way! I'm curious what the pastor is doing to grow this little church.
Yes I always come up and greet and talk. We do laugh about things occasionally.
They are nice to me and pastors wife invites me to their gatherings as she does everyone else at church. Though sometimes they seem to behave as though they have kids and so know a little more about life than I do. ( have 8 niece and nephews who were all around me as babies.)
No, pastors wife is not shy and I am not shy.
However after several incidents like this happening I do begin to withdraw and feel more reserved of them specifically and not wanting to feel rejected again.
 
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Amethyst

Angie ... †
Just calling it like I see it sister. You are faithful to God. You will not compromise His word in order to gratify yourself. God bless you for remaining firm.
It's a fine line /odd for me because even among Christians I do not believe in forcing friendships. If I don't feel a connection with someone (beyond being in Christ) I dont believe I have to have a close friendship, that isn't the issue honestly. Just as you wouldnt want to marry someone "just" because they are also a Christian you also dont want to feel like you have to be close friends with another female Christian.

But the church is still under 12 regulars. And theres only 5 of us under 40 and so it makes it harder.
 

Reason & Hope

Well-Known Member
Yes I always come up and greet and talk. We do laugh about things occasionally.
They are nice to me and pastors wife invites me to their gatherings as she does everyone else at church. Though sometimes they seem to behave as though they have kids and so know a little more about life than I do. ( have 8 niece and nephews who were all around me as babies.)
No, pastors wife is not shy and I am not shy.
However after several incidents like this happening I do begin to withdraw and feel more reserved of them specifically and not wanting to feel rejected again.
If these two women both have kids, then they are probably talking mostly about their kids and the related struggles, issues and joys. They are the young moms with kids support group.

When I was homeschooling my kids, I hung out mostly with other homeschooling moms. I did not look down on single people, but the other moms shared advice and our kids were constantly at each other's homes, so we were all very involved with one another.

I hope your church grows and that God brings you some friends.
 

Amethyst

Angie ... †
If these two women both have kids, then they are probably talking mostly about their kids and the related struggles, issues and joys. They are the young moms with kids support group.

When I was homeschooling my kids, I hung out mostly with other homeschooling moms. I did not look down on single people, but the other moms shared advice and our kids were constantly at each other's homes, so we were all very involved with one another.

I hope your church grows and that God brings you some friends.
Well that is painful. I thought christians not supposed to show difference in lots in life.

Considering they both know I still wish to have kids and pray for a Christian spouse. Also they are only 2-3 years younger than me with one having a 13 year old and the other having tiny kids. They do have homeschool in common.

I guess my questions is what is Christlike behavior and what isn't..

I am considering leaving this church. It is like rubbing salt in the wound. And why does He want me to endure heartache upon heartache. Not havign a family and also being treated as an outsider by those experiencing the joy of a family.
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
I had been in a similar situation like this years ago and it is painful. :hug

I also had the same response in prayerfully waiting on God to bring or guide me to friendship groups in Christ where I connected better. But, in the meantime, I also felt it important to continue to avail myself to good biblical teaching that was there, and not let the difficulty of those (in my situation, immature in Christ) keep me from the most important, the feeding of my soul with good bible teaching.

I guess what I'm saying is to hang on the the good part of this situation, good bible teaching, while waiting in faith for God to work on your behalf in creating connections, guiding you somewhere else or perhaps bringing more people to this church.

I'll be praying for you that God would give you guidance and encouragement in this situation. What I do know, is that God is faithful and He does move on our behalf for our very best.......I suspect He's in process putting things together. :)

:pray
 

GotGrace

Well-Known Member
I need advice. I have been part of a small church plant since May. The reasons I found this church is because i knew he did expository preaching and was planting right within 10 miles of my home.
Anyway only the pastor and his wife and another couple are around my age and so i was hopeful that we could form somewhat of a friendship. We all only just met each other over late spring early summer. So there is no previous 'bond' going on.
Anytime we have small gatherings in more intimate settings (like a game night or small retreat) pastors wife and other woman always seem to snuggle up and talk to each other and dont even bother to try to include me in the conversation. Not even glance over at me to acknowledge my existence. It is not like they are "mean girls", they are nice and want to grow in the Lord so I cant say they are being outright sinful and cruel.
I dont know how i am supposed to come at this. I suppose they have a lot more in common than me, both growing up in church atmosphere etc..
I have tried to hand this over to the Lord many times. I start to dread going to church because I just feel left out. But I really like the pastor and his teaching and another older couple are very sweet and inclusive with me. Very genuine.
I think the Lord may be having me grow in some way, I have tried asking show me what you want me to learn from this. I have forgiven many little incidents and given them to Him but at the same time it makes me dread the feelings of being left out yet again.

I have asked HIm to please give me friends who want my company and have more in common with me etc and just to avoid them and not 'try' to fit in. And so again I try to think they are just two people in a world of millions
but then last night i overheard them discussing a morning get together they were going to have and it just got to me all over again.
If I wasnt in church with either fo them I likely would not seek out their friendship bc we are little different but I am in church and I thought i am supposed to pursue friendship/ unity.

How should I be feeling about this in a scriptural way? :frown
Here are my two cents:

I've been in church all my life and have seen the cliques. Many times I don't think women realize they are excluding anybody but just get caught up in shared interests without realizing they need to make the effort to welcome newbies in. I could talk to a tree stump if it would talk back, but a lot of people simply are not like that. They cannot walk up to a new person and be warm and sincere.

If the ladies in that church are not ever going to be welcoming and the pain of feeling left out continues, then first of all I would start a hunt for a new bible-believing, bible- teaching church. Second of all before joining that church I would make inquiries as to whether they have a singles class. I would point blank ask who I could talk to about the singles class to get a feel for what it is like. If no singles class then ask what they have there for you to grow and feel a part of the church.

I know these people on this site are prayer warriors and will be lifting you up in this matter.
 

RestInHim

Well-Known Member
I need advice. I have been part of a small church plant since May. The reasons I found this church is because i knew he did expository preaching and was planting right within 10 miles of my home.
Anyway only the pastor and his wife and another couple are around my age and so i was hopeful that we could form somewhat of a friendship. We all only just met each other over late spring early summer. So there is no previous 'bond' going on.
Anytime we have small gatherings in more intimate settings (like a game night or small retreat) pastors wife and other woman always seem to snuggle up and talk to each other and dont even bother to try to include me in the conversation. Not even glance over at me to acknowledge my existence. It is not like they are "mean girls", they are nice and want to grow in the Lord so I cant say they are being outright sinful and cruel.
I dont know how i am supposed to come at this. I suppose they have a lot more in common than me, both growing up in church atmosphere etc..
I have tried to hand this over to the Lord many times. I start to dread going to church because I just feel left out. But I really like the pastor and his teaching and another older couple are very sweet and inclusive with me. Very genuine.
I think the Lord may be having me grow in some way, I have tried asking show me what you want me to learn from this. I have forgiven many little incidents and given them to Him but at the same time it makes me dread the feelings of being left out yet again.

I have asked HIm to please give me friends who want my company and have more in common with me etc and just to avoid them and not 'try' to fit in. And so again I try to think they are just two people in a world of millions
but then last night i overheard them discussing a morning get together they were going to have and it just got to me all over again.
If I wasnt in church with either fo them I likely would not seek out their friendship bc we are little different but I am in church and I thought i am supposed to pursue friendship/ unity.

How should I be feeling about this in a scriptural way? :frown

I've dealt with a great deal of this in the past 20 years as a believer in Church. I don't want to make this about me, but, I'll say that when I first became deathly ill 22 years ago and went to church I tried to be a part of the church, to fellowship and to find love and support each other and to serve the Lord. I am not angry or bitter but I have experienced a lot of rejection, criticism and was judged. I met a young lady that works at our supermarket and whom I know attends a Gospel Hall in our town, she like to go there but she "feels" like she is always being judged. I am not perfect, but, I do believe it necessary in our walk with the Lord to do the utmost to walk in the spirit and to abide in Him making sure we are not excluding anyone or forming cliques. I've been told more than once that they didn't want to be around me because I was sick. I've been excluded in this same way as you are with my own son/dil and mother in law.

I believe these things have been happening at break neck speed in the church and sadly I believe it happens a lot with woman.

If you are "feeling" this way, yes, it is always good to take it to the Lord in prayer and wait on His leading and it's always good to make sure we aren't over reacting, but, when these feelings keep happening or grow stronger I would tend to believe that it is something that is wrong. I've been in gatherings where I tried to be a part of and have had these things happen. When I was so very very ill, our boys continued to attend church and no one reached out for fellowship but instead I've had my head chewed off for not attending when I was literally fighting for my life. Our boys we're a part of the Church, but, when I tried to be I was treated so horrible in many ways.

I don't know what is truly happening, but, when I hear of these things it does make me angry because it is wrong and it grieves the heart of God and it damages the Body of Christ!

Unbelievers will naturally gather with people who have things in common and just because we are believers in Jesus we can do the same but it is not right. There is always something that we can find in common with others. We are to treat others as we would like to be treated.

(Phil. 2: 1-7) "So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men.

Continue to lean on Him, He loves you and will use this to help you grow stronger and allow Him to do His work in you, He will go through this with you and guide you.

For me, I am no longer able to even try to attend a church, even if there we're others I wanted to. I don't want to because I am so very sick and because of what I've gone through for 20 years and I don't feel led.
Well that is painful. I thought christians not supposed to show difference in lots in life.

Considering they both know I still wish to have kids and pray for a Christian spouse. Also they are only 2-3 years younger than me with one having a 13 year old and the other having tiny kids. They do have homeschool in common.

I guess my questions is what is Christlike behavior and what isn't..

I am considering leaving this church. It is like rubbing salt in the wound. And why does He want me to endure heartache upon heartache. Not havign a family and also being treated as an outsider by those experiencing the joy of a family.

I'm sorry Amethyst, yes it is painful to be treated this way, especially by our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet, God knows how you feel and is there for you, I know it doesn't feel like He is when this happens over and over and over. I've been there and I too have been really feeling it the past several days. Just imagine how the Apostles felt when they we're following the Lord, alone, but not alone, they had Him. Paul and John in prison and so many others like Job and Daniel and David. He will not leave you in this, He is always faithful and will help you out of this. I will confess that I have had times where I did not praise Him through things such as this and I know I should have because He was drawing me even closer to Him.

At the end of our lives, we will all face death and I believe many face it alone, but, those of us who have our heavenly Father are not alone. I too am feeling some of this lately, we can pray for each other and believe that He will do what is good.
I'm thinking of Romans 12. What a powerful Chapter. for all who are in Christ Jesus.

(Rom. 12: 9-16)
v.9 "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight.

The first love word in v.9 is "agape" love.
There are many other verses in Scripture that have "one another" in them.

v. 11 "zeal" or "diligence" ~ "spoude" means haste, striving after anthing, consistency and faithfulness.

(Heb. 6: 11) " And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:"

and

v. 12 "fervent" ~ "zeo" means fervent for what is good, fervent in spirit, be hot, love.

:hug:pray



I will leave this link... I hope I'm doing this right this time, if not please remove and I apologize.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-cliques.html


Webster’s defines a clique as “a small group of people who spend time together and who are not friendly to other people.” The first half of that definition describes perfectly normal and acceptable conduct; the second half, not so much. People naturally gravitate toward others who are like them and, sometimes without realizing it, form a clique. When we find someone with the same likes, same sense of humor, and a similar worldview, we want to spend more time with him or her. We enjoy being around people who validate our own perspectives and personality. But the Bible tells us to love everyone as we love ourselves (Galatians 5:14), including those who are different from us.

Cliques are often associated with the immature behavior of children in school, but some churches also have a reputation for being “cliquish.” Certain denominations tend to propagate that culture more than others, and the attitude of the flock is often a reflection of the leadership. A pastor who is open, humble, and eager to connect with everyone often leads a church filled with people of the same attitude. However, pastors who consider themselves above the common worshiper or who isolate themselves within a tight circle of a select few can unknowingly inspire their congregants to do the same. First Peter 5:5 warns us about such attitudes: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’”



 
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Amethyst

Angie ... †
@RestInHim Thank you for sharing your heart. :hug I'm so sorry you have had to endure such gross behavior., telling you your sickness is disqualifying :frown
I am pouring my heart to God and asking Him to strengthen my faith that He hears and knows and loves me.

You know, even unbelievers with kids don't seem to exclude me the way some Christians have. :sad

Thankfully, the pastor himself is not like this at all.
 

Lynn

Longing for Home
I start to dread going to church because I just feel left out. But I really like the pastor and his teaching and another older couple are very sweet and inclusive with me. Very genuine.
Angie, I think you've found what God may be seeking to teach you. You stated earlier that one of the main reasons for wanting to attend this church is because the pastor teaches the Bible in expository style. This indicates that you're longing to know more about God and how to apply in your life what He is saying. Your spirit is leading here, not your flesh, and that's a very telling point about your level of spiritual maturity. You are 'ready' for a friendship with other more mature believers. You state that this couple who is sweet, inclusive with you, and genuine is older. I'm assuming they're quite a bit older than you, since you described them as 'older'. I believe that if you pursue a friendship with them, you would learn much from their years of walking with the Lord. Not only that, they most likely would be two ardent prayer warriors with whom you could talk frankly about your desire to be married, etc. They've walked a long road, and have undoubtedly had trials, heartaches, disappointments in life. You may be standing right in front of two more reasons why God called you to this small church plant. Please disregard the apparent exclusion from the other two young women. Your life lessons won't be found there. I would ask God for a heart of tenderness and forgiveness toward the two young women, while giving you a heart of love and respect for the godly older couple. Ask Him to forge a beautiful friendship among the three of you. Your tender age and sensitive spirit would be a great encouragement to them. Perhaps they always wanted a daughter like you, or maybe they have no family who live close by, and they would welcome a sweet young woman as a friend. You may not realize what beautiful blessings await you. I'd certainly ask the Lord how He wants you to proceed in offering friendship to this dear couple.
God bless you, Angie. :hug :pray
 
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Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus
I tried to be a part of the church, to fellowship and to find love and support each other and to serve the Lord. I am not angry or bitter but I have experienced a lot of rejection, criticism and was judged. I met a young lady that works at our supermarket and whom I know attends a Gospel Hall in our town, she like to go there but she "feels" like she is always being judged. I am not perfect, but, I do believe it necessary in our walk with the Lord to do the utmost to walk in the spirit and to abide in Him making sure we are not excluding anyone or forming cliques. I've been told more than once that they didn't want to be around me because I was sick. I've been excluded in this same way as you are with my own son/dil and mother in law.

I just have to say:

:hug I'm glad you're with us. :)
 

RestInHim

Well-Known Member
Angie, I think you've found what God may be seeking to teach you. You stated earlier that one of the main reasons for wanting to attend this church is because the pastor teaches the Bible in expository style. This indicates that you're longing to know more about God and how to apply in your life what He is saying. Your spirit is leading here, not your flesh, and that's a very telling point about your level of spiritual maturity. You are 'ready' for a friendship with other more mature believers. You state that this couple who is sweet, inclusive with you, and genuine is older. I'm assuming they're quite a bit older than you, since you described them as 'older'. I believe that if you pursue a friendship with them, you would learn much from their years of walking with the Lord. Not only that, they most likely would be two ardent prayer warriors with whom you could talk frankly about your desire to be married, etc. They've walked a long road, and have undoubtedly had trials, heartaches, disappointments in life. You may be standing right in front of two more reasons why God called you to this small church plant. Please disregard the apparent exclusion from the other two young women. Your life lessons won't be found there. I would ask God for a heart of tenderness and forgiveness toward the two young women, while giving you a heart of love and respect for the godly older couple. Ask Him to forge a beautiful friendship among the three of you. Your tender age and sensitive spirit would be a great encouragement to them. Perhaps they always wanted a daughter like you, or maybe they have no family who live close by, and they would welcome a sweet young woman as a friend. You may not realize what beautiful blessings await you. I'd certainly ask the Lord how He wants you to proceed in offering friendship to this dear couple.
God bless you, Angie. :hug :pray

What a beautiful and encouraging word Lynn. :)

Earlier I was thinking of this verse. "You are to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 2Now I commend you for remembering me in everything and for maintaining the traditions, just as I passed them on to you."

God will honor one's desire to grow in the Lord and bring others into our lives who are mature whom we can learn from and whom we can grow with.
 
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