Every church has circles of friends. Circles of friends can be good, but sometimes they can push people away. We call these kinds of circles cliques. Cliques are not healthy for kids or for the church.
You need to understand the social dynamics of your group before you can help the kids in this area. At my church, kids fell into one of three categories:
1) Kids that attended our Christian School. These kids already had their friends so they didn’t really have a need for friends at church. This was a positive for the kids who were part of the school, but it was a negative for the kids who did not attend the church’s school. This group of kids was not trying to be cliquey, but that was what inevitably happened.
To counter this tendency I did teaching on the importance of being inclusive and being nice to the new kid. I would also break up the cliques when we attended overnight events like camp.
2) Home School kids. The home school kids were generally a little behind socially. These were good kids; they just didn’t have as many social experiences as the other kids. To counter this I would provide social activities at church. Many of the home school moms are highly motivated to lead these activities.
3) Kids that attended other schools. These kids usually didn’t have any friends when they started at our church. I would talk to these kids about being proactive in making friends. The Bible says, “If a man wants friends, let him show himself friendly.” Stop feeling sorry for yourself, look for someone who also doesn’t have a buddy and extend friendship.
You cannot choose their friends for them, but you can create environments that will help them make friends. Do not underestimate how important this is for your kids. It is worth your time. You don’t have to do this all by yourself. Find some motivated parents to organize your activities.
What do you do to break up the cliques in your Kid Min?