Archive for July, 2012

Wrong Time, Wrong Place To Complain To Your Pastor

I was given permission from my Pastor friend Ricky Powell, to use this so I could share it with others.  Thank you Ricky

I believe pastors should be humble and approachable people. Pastors are not above reproach. Pastors are not perfect. We make mistakes. We even sin at times. However, some church members regularly choose the wrong time and place to share their complaints with the pastor. Here are some examples of the wrong time and place to complain to your pastor.

  • On Sunday morning before he has to preach. You would be amazed at how many pastors have been cornered just before the service begins by a church member with a gripe. The person evidently believes their complaint is more important than the pastor’s responsibility to lead the congregation in worship and to share God’s Word. They would rather distract him and get his mind off the Lord’s work with their complaint. They usually walk away feeling better now that they got it off their chest. But the pastor is left with inadequate time to respond and has to lead the service with that complaint ringing in his ears. It is very distracting and disrespectful.
  • In the receiving line after the service. 
  • After office hours. Most pastors keep office hours. Don’t interrupt his family time by calling him at home. Emergencies and ministry needs often intrude into the pastor’s family time or day off. Don’t add to that burden. Most complaints can wait until an appointment can be made. Call the church office and make the appointment.
  • At a funeral. Don’t catch the pastor in the receiving line at the funeral parlor or graveside as your chance to complain. That is not the time or place to discuss the pro’s and con’s of contemporary Christian music, the temperature in the sanctuary last Sunday, or any other “concern” you have. The pastor is there for the grieving family, not you.
  • At the hospital while he is making visits.
  • In the hallway of the church during the week. If it is important, schedule an appointment.
  • At a church fellowship. Many good meals have been ruined for pastors because instead of being allowed to enjoy the church fellowship he is subjected to people who pull him aside and give him a piece of their mind.

What should you do if you have a complaint about something in the church?

  • Pray about your concern. God may show you a new perspective on the issue. He will also help you keep your spirit in check as you approach the pastor.
  • Schedule an appointment with the pastor or appropriate staff member during office hours. 
  • Don’t bombard the pastor with minor gripes. Personal preferences of every church member cannot be met. Mature Christians understand this and do not complain every time they do not get their way.
  • Don’t hide behind anonymous notes in the bulletin. 
  • Don’t hide behind e-mail. 
  • Learn to appreciate the good things. There are always a few folks who are continually negative. If you listen to them long enough you would assume that there is nothing praiseworthy in their church.
  • Do not gossip. 
  • Pray for your pastor.  

Do you have any helpful ideas for handling complaints?