Cliques and Payback

I recently talked to someone who was in my youth group when I was growing up who thought I was a snob. She claimed that my friends didn’t really talk to her. I honestly was such a nerd and so desperate to be liked that I never imagined that anyone would want to be noticed by my. But that is another argument. The thing is I thought that I was being nice to people, but apparently I wasn’t.

Or maybe she was just crazy.

Either way, now it is payback time.

In this job I find people in all sorts of different walks of life and I try to build relationships with them. I talk to students from a whole bunch of different groups, and from time to time some of them come to church.

But here is the thing. MY YOUTH GROUP DOES’T TALK TO THEM! No matter how many times I try to talk about loving everyone, no matter how many different ways I try to build relationships, there are always people who come week after week and are ignored.

There is a girl who’s family goes to our church who is fighting with her mom because she wants to go somewhere that her friends go who came up to me and said, “No one really talks to me here.” This is a girl who grew up in our church, and I had to look her in the face and pretty much agree with her. No one does talk to her. She is quiet and doesn’t reach out herself, but that doesn’t change the fact that my group has its cliques and isn’t about to let anyone else in.


I want so desperately to bring in new people so that they can hear that God loves them and so that they can see that God cares about them, but I can’t if my group isn’t going to reach out to people when they come to church. I know this problem is as old as ministry (I mean they elected deacons because some people were feeling ignored) but I would love some fresh advice.  

2 thoughts on “Cliques and Payback

  • January 7, 2008 at 7:32 PM

    uth pastor of 8 years here. i know your looking for help, but ive had the same problem for years. about 2 years ago i ask this question to a panel of "youth experts" at a national youth leaders conference. Their answer to me was, "…laugh…let us know when you find out." :(

  • January 8, 2008 at 5:18 PM

    Shane, I don’t think you’re crazy. My own wife told me this very thing a few years ago. She said that we (yeah, that includes you, too) were so stuck up in high school that she felt intimidated to talk to us. Huh? To be honest, it completely blew me away. Us, stuck up? I think back to those times, and I don’t see it at all. We were by no means the ‘popular kids’ at our school. We were band geeks, for goodness sake. What was it about us that made people think this way? I always thought we more resembled the "Island of Misfit Toys" that we did the "Cool Kids", but perhaps that wasn’t the public perception after all.


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