Who do you hang out with at church? It's definitely easier to hang out with people who are like ourselves and who have similar interests! Back in the States, it was easier for me to relate to other homeschool families or football fans or ladies my own age. Here, it is definitely easier for me to hang around the Americans or those who speak English well. It just makes me feel like I belong... Like I am a part of something... Unified.
Ephesians was written to the local church at Ephesus. Although we can apply it's principles to different aspects of our lives, we must always consider it's context and purpose.
The first three verses speak of us walking worthy of what God has called us to do... And walking with lowliness and meekness and longsuffering and forbearance...
Ephesians 4:3 "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Clique: an exclusive social group.
We have all seen it... And truthfully, we have probably all done it. We sit with the same group every service, talk to the same group after every service... It's comfortable and easy. We tell others "hello" and "goodbye!" but we pretty much have our comfortable fellowship clique. The unity in the group is based on interests, compatible personalities, and things of that nature.
Oh, how easy it must have been for all the Gentiles in the Ephesian church to hang out together... Or maybe the preachers all hung out together. Common backgrounds or common callings is not what unifies a church...
Ephesians 4:4-6 "[There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all."
These things should broaden our scope of fellowship... In the local church, we are members of one body with Christ as the Head. We are indwelt by the same Spirit. Even though we have different callings, our goal in fulfilling those callings is the same. We serve the same Lord. We share the same doctrine. We have been baptized the same, and we worship the same God.
These things should keep us from getting stuck in a clique. They should help us fellowship with all the members of our church. There should be a bond that unites us... The bond of Christ.
Is your church clique sick? Do your part to not be part of the problem. What is the danger of cliques? There are some people who will feel like they don't belong. They will become discouraged and maybe get out of church. A lack of true spiritually based unity also leaves room for trouble to enter the church. A lack of true unity affects true worship. And ultimately, a lack of true unity is sin. Unity is what Christ prayed for when He prayed for us.
John 17:20-20 "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
Next church service, purposefully fellowship with people outside your normal routine. Show interest in them. Show compassion and the love of Christ.
I intend to keep trying to fellowship with the non- English speakers of our church. Pray for me!