Cliques are bad right? I mean there has to be something wrong when a group of teenagers are hanging out in the corner not aware of others. Or, is really not that big of a deal?
Cliques are simply a group of teenagers who interact with one another more intensely and regularly than others in the same setting. But, they seem counter cultural to what you want in a youth ministry. You want your teens inclusive and welcoming; however, it does not always seem possible.
Teens are naturally drawn to their friends and that’s okay. But, if you want to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment you need to make a few changes to your ministry. You need to make sure you:
- Form Intentional Groups: When you create small groups in your ministry you allow teens to form Christ centered relationships. It teaches them how to pray together, share life with one another and go deeper. Small groups allow accountable and healthy relationships to flourish. (How to build healthy small groups, click here)
- Add More Adults: It can be difficult for a new teen to fit into the crowd. Utilize the adults in your ministry to serve as liaisons who help new teenagers adjust. If you feel like cliques are forming have an adult sit in on it to get a better feel. Expand your capacity to know what is really happening in those small herds. (How to recruit more leaders, click here)
- Preach Invest And Invite: Preach to teens the importance of stepping out and building relationships with people they do not know. Have them invite friends and create a culture where new people are welcomed. Let your teenagers know that your ministry needs to grow. (How to create effective messages, click here)
If you see a group of teens hanging together on a regular basis do not jump to negative conclusions. Consider it an opportunity to get to know them and see why they are drawn to one another. Embrace the relationships that form in your ministry, but do not be afraid to challenge them.
What do you do with cliques in your ministry?