“It would appear that ministers have to put up with more complaining and griping than any group on the planet.”
Listening to the gripes of the Lord’s people is standard fare for ministers. They ought to teach courses on it in seminary.
Someone, please tell the newly ordained to get ready.
The primary nerve center for griping and complaining in the church house has always been the carnal and the worldly. This includes two groups of people: the unsaved (represented by the infamous mixed multitude of unbelievers and hangers-on who went up from Egypt with Moses and Israel) and the unspiritual. The latter group is saved but has taken a seat just inside the front gate and gone no deeper into spiritual things.
Some chronic complainers are saved and some are lost. The problem is they look and act alike, making it impossible to tell outwardly which group they belong to. So, God’s faithful must be careful about making generalizations, that “Christians wouldn’t act this way.”
Not all Christians get these things right. Not every believer acts like a Christian.
The one thing both groups have in common is a lack of faith. They see as the world sees. They will pass judgment on pastors because, after all, “He works for us, right?” They make decisions about the church based on numbers, income, feelings, polls, reputations and whether people are happy. They are known to utter some of the notorious expressions we are listing below.
Since the church door is wide open and bolted so that “whosoever will may come,” every congregation will include a sizeable contingent of the carnal, both the unsaved and the unspiritual. What the church must never do is install them into places of leadership.
Put the spiritually stunted in leadership positions and you’re buying trouble for the ministers and erecting obstacles for the Lord to accomplish anything in your church.
Scripture reminds us that “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; neither can he comprehend them for they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14); and, “The carnal mind is hostile to God, for it does not subject itself to the laws of God, for it is not even able to do so. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8).
Pray for the pastor. It would appear that ministers have to put up with more complaining and griping than any group on the planet.
Recently, when a lady criticized me on Facebook for urging caution in ousting ministers, I found myself saying to her, in my mind: “Thank you for that. It’s been 12 years since I pastored a church and I had almost forgotten how it feels to be attacked unfairly.”
We all have our list of pet peeves in life. We pastors have our list of expressions people use to manipulate others so they can get their way. Here is my personal list of the worst things I’ve heard said in church.
1. “The pastor is not meeting my needs.”
He’s not there to meet your needs. Jesus does that. The pastor is there as a shepherd to watch over the entire flock and to see that healthy food is available and safe procedures are in place. He’s there to make you holy, not happy.
2. “I’m not being spiritually fed.”
Babies have to be spoon-fed. Adults can feed themselves. Since I’ve been able to read the Bible for myself and study God’s Word independently, I’ve not depended on the pastor to burp me.
3. “I have a right …”
The Christian faith is about the grace and mercy of God. We thank God that he does not give us what we deserve. Faithful believers show the same kind of dedication and love to one another. But at no point is a child of God to insist on his or her rights.
If we got what we deserve, we would all be in hell.
4. “I’m not one to gossip, but …”
That’s always the prelude to gossip.
When I was a young pastor, one lady in the church would confide, “Now, I know you would want to know … ” It was her way of passing along gossip.
Stifling the urge to pass along the latest trash on someone in the church is one of the hardest skills to acquire. Only the mature can pull it off.
5. “Now, I’m not saying who, but some people are unhappy about …”
Anonymous criticism is one of the most cowardly things ever concocted in hell. When the pastor asks, “Who exactly is this you say is unhappy?” the critic answers, “Well, I’m not at liberty to say.” (At that point, the preacher should then get up and show the visitor the door. “This conversation is over, friend.” And if they don’t leave, the pastor should.)