The Complainer

So I was thinking about the general nature of the complainer this week.  We had a guest speaker at church since our Sr. Pastor is in Israel (“lucky!”) and he asked the congregation in each of our 3 services “be honest, how many of you have not prayed for your pastors, any of them, even one time in the last 2 weeks?”  Most people raised their hands.  I’ll give them this, they are an honest congregation (I absolutely love this church).  He said, “so you never pray for your pastors, but when something gets said from the pulpit you don’t like or the music is not quite right you are so quick to send off an email to them and complain.”  Wow.  Being a pastor I was one part edified and another part squirming a bit.  If you are in public ministry you’ve heard it.  The complaints: too loud, I couldn’t worship, where are the hymns?, it’s obvious this is about you and not about God.  Yes I’ve heard a lot of it.  In fact, I myself am a complainer.  I complain about all sorts of things that make my life difficult, or anything that pulls me out of my comfort zone.  Just this morning my wife said, “you ought to squeeze in a bike ride, the weather is nice.”  I got up put on bike shorts and jersey, socks and shoes, and then asked “what’s the temperature?”  It was a little cold for the clothes I was wearing.  I complained because I had to change my clothes.  I did end up on a bike ride and am very happy I went.  She was right, the weather was beautiful this morning.  And I did find myself praising God for His creation which I often do when I go biking.  But I just HAD to complain at some point didn’t I?  But it seems that when people uncork on a pastor in the church, it’s quite vile.  Why do these complainers feel the need to spread so much venom (yes, venom) when they complain (actually said to me in church: “how dare you assume to know what I need to worship God”)?  Congregational church is about giving back to God (see 1 Peter 2:9); declaring His praises.  That’s the primary purpose of the church.  But some people arrive with a consumer mentality and are just flat out furious when it doesn’t conform to whatever standard they have imposed on “church.”  With the American church body rife with complainers are we really acting as His disciples and “lov[ing] one another” as Christ commanded (John 13:34)?  What do you think?   

4 Responses to “The Complainer”

  1. 1 Dan
    May 13, 2008 at 3:29 am

    For the many years I have been apart of a worship team.I have seen this very thing. No matter what Church I have been apart of.We live in a serve me world, and lose the meaning of what true worship is all about. Now I am not saying I haven’t complain.Have my days. But when things happen to the ones you love. You have to know its all about GOD and not us.Because, when problems do come we need to seek HIM first in prayer and worship.Then step back watch GOD do his thing.Trust me its worth it.

  2. May 13, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    My wife and I are committed to supporting each of our pastors, including you, Mike. We pray for you guys, and hold you in the highest esteem.

    Perhaps it’s because Ashleigh’s dad was a pastor that we understand how demanding your work is. Perhaps it’s because we’ve received some great teaching about how important it is to honor pastors and appreciate the burden they have for their congregations. Whatever it is, please know that you’ve got many 100% supporters in your congregation. The Slater family is among them, without reservation. We are committed to never speaking poorly of any of our church leadership, and always speaking well of you guys.

    The sermons these past two weeks have affected Ashleigh and me greatly. I’m finding myself praying more than I have in years. Just this morning, for example, I prayed for you and your wife and your family, Mike, that He would protect you and give you joy as you serve Him. Things happen when we pray, and things don’t happen when we don’t pray. I want things to happen.

    OK, one complaint for you: Get a new guitar cable. 😉

  3. May 13, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    New cable purchased yesterday!

    Thank you for your heartfelt support and especially your prayers. It’s an interesting dynamic when after you’ve poured your heart and soul (and spirit) out someone walks up and says “hey your head was real shiny today, my wife and I thought that was funny.” You’re not sure how to respond in love in that case. Anyone have suggestions?

  4. 4 D Woofter
    May 19, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I have to admit that when I first came to MSC, I HATED the music !! Coming from a very conservative baptist background I felt very uncomfortable with the hand raising and “Where were my hyms??” BUT I felt very led that this is where God want me to be and I (as PAstor Steve says) kept coming. One Sunday, I was standing there sing the songs and I was washed away by the Holy Spirit !!! My arms reached out to my God in worship and praise and I have never been the same !!! I never sent emails or letters to complain but I must admit I complained to God about “why would He want me at MSC where I felt so uncomortable with worship!!!” Now I know and I look forward to worship every week and my personal worship has reached new heights. Thank you Mike for all that you do to make MSC what it is.

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May 2008

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