How to handle complaints

Complaints. I’ve had a few.

Leaders will get the complaints of the people they lead.  It’s only a matter of time.  In ministry they can sneak into a committee meeting, Bible study or, my favorite, right before a worship service.  Phone calls, emails, anonymous letters and even social media messages can come from anyone at anytime.

You’d do well by deciding beforehand how you will handle complaints.

I’ve learned to filter them.  Some complaints represent genuine issues.  Most others do not.  You have to make that distinction.  I use a few factors to make up my mind; of course, this is more of an art than a science.

  • Listen to the tone of voice people use, if applicable.  Are they ticked off or hurt?
  • How long has this complaint been brewing?  In other words, is this a thought someone has reflected upon or do they just want to give me a piece of their mind?
  • Has anyone else been told about this?  Is it that important?
  • What do they want you to do?  Is this someone blowing off steam? Is this person worried that what’s happening right now may have a negative impact on the church’s ability to reach the world for Jesus?

If you feel a complaint warrants attention, by all means, take time to address the situation.

But please, dear church leader, do not react to every complaint you receive.  Don’t change something you’re doing because someone complained about it.  Don’t change your mind because someone didn’t like what you were doing.

Church leaders cannot spend their time reacting to every complaint. Their role is to lead the church into mission, not to appease the church into complacency.

Stay blessed…john

Remember the Teaching

I didn’t get to record last weekend’s sermon.  So, I grabbed a video from our church’s Facebook group.  We do a live feed to our group every week.  It’s been a great way for us to connect our congregation.

Here’s a video of our sermon last week.

What part of the Bible has inspired you lately?

Stay blessed…john

Bread for this

Several years ago, I heard about a preacher that prepared for his sermon in a unique way.  One Sunday he was to preach on the Bread of Life text (John 6).  He thought of a powerful way to help the sermon stick with his congregation.  He had prepared for several church members to bring their bread machines to church earlier in the morning.  Forgive me for not knowing how long bread takes to bake, but the group planned for their bread to be done by the time worship was done.

The result?  People starting to get a smell during their worship.  By the time the preacher began teaching about the Bread of Life, the smell of bread was unavoidable.  Not in an intruding or overbearing way.  Just enough to engage the senses.  Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh bread?  The preacher didn’t say anything.  He didn’t draw attention to the smell.  He didn’t have to.

Do you think his congregation remembers that sermon?

I have a love/hate feeling about that idea.  I love it because it’s great!  You might say it’s a pure bread idea.  I hate it because it’s been about 10 years since I first heard that idea and I have yet to try it.  I’ve thought about it numerous times, but never got around to it.

Know the feeling?

Here’s the good thing about never getting around to something.  You can get around to it now.

Stay blessed…john