Summary: A pastor wrote:HOW DO I HANDLE COMPLAINTS ADDRESS TO ME... I respond.

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I WAS ASKED: I’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. I hope this will not be considered as a stupid question, but it’s really meant as a sincere question:

If a leader in your church came to you saying they want longer services and longer and more altar calls, what would your response be?

I had a couple of people come to me today with some complaints, one being that I’m not perceptive or sensitive about their needs (they pretty much expect me to figure their needs out without giving me much information) and another that my sermons and services are too rushed and not long enough... PASTOR’S NAME WITHHELD...

My rambling response: I listen to any and all comments that come my way. I ponder them and weigh them. I do try to limit my exposure to negativism, but I do listen. WHAT DOES THE WORD SAY:

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; [11] Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; [12] Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

1 Cor. 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

1 Cor. 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Col. 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; [13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Ephes. 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

1. The first thing I do is: I WEIGH WHO IT IS THAT MAKES THE POINT, COMMENT OR COMPLAINT. I have some negative people, that I listen to, but I do not put much faith in a lot of what they say. I listen respectfully. There are others I weigh heavily everything they say. Not every comment is valid or real, we as leaders must learn how to sift through problems.

2. My Dad taught me a valuable lesson about questions: He learned from Jesus a good point, ANSWER WITH A QUESTION? They asked Jesus a question... Jesus replied: WHAT DO YOU think of JOHN THE BAPTIST ---? When they refused to answer him, he refused to answer them. Often to answer a question with a question is wisdom. Many times I am asked a question and I reply: WHAT DO YOU THINK...? They answer and I never have to answer the question.

3. Conflict is neither good nor bad, it is what we do with conflict. Allow anyone to say whatever they need to say. I remember once a man being very mad at me, his daughter’s husband was found cheating the night before at a bar. I had nothing to do with it, nor did I know the young man was being unfaithful. My church member took his anger out on me, he told me off. It had nothing to do about me, just the man needed to vent somewhere, and as a friend I was the vent. The father was killed for his daughter and he could not get to the son in law. (good thing) I started to respond, and I felt my heart say: just let him blow up and love him anyway. No, the dear friend never apologized to me. He didn’t have to, I knew his heart, his pain and his disappointments for his daughter and the grandchildren. As a friend I could be man enough to listen and weather the attack.

4. Some comments are mean spirited and are an attempt to MANIPULATE others. We can not sell our pulpit to anyone. I was a young pastor. A new couple attended our church in a fancy car and a fancy house. They were big givers and would slip me money on a regular basis. Never in the offerings, but in the handshake. I love handshake money, but they were trying to MANIPULATE this young preacher. They sold Salad Master Cookware, they wanted me to open doors to sales parties for them. I never had one party for them, they took their money and went up the road to another church, then another and another.

5. Please understand this next point: I SHALL CALL IT BLOWING SMOKE. I was a school teacher. There was this teacher’s aid that had her nose in every one’s business. She carried political clout in our system. At the beginning of the year an older teacher said: SOMEONE WAS TWO HOURS LATER EVERY DAY LAST YEAR AND THIS IS NOT FAIR to the rest of us. The Principal inquired some. The first week of school he sent out a note to all the teachers to sign. The note said: SOMEONE HAS BEEN BEING LATE EVERY DAY --- THIS MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY. I signed the note and passed it to the next room. I knew the lady was in there --- so I waited and watched. The lady came running out of the room, straight into the office and was screaming--- WHO TOLD ON ME! WHO TOLD ON ME? See, the lady never received the correction and missed the whole point... her little temper fit was blowing smoke. She covered up the real issue of tardiness, with a false issue --- who told on me? Her words were covering up her real problem. Later this talented lady lost her good job... repeated tardiness. She could not see or identify her real problem. Learn to identify "BLOWING SMOKE" AND GET TO THE REAL ISSUE AT HAND.

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