I recently had someone come to see me who was struggling in their church. In all honesty it would have been hard to be more depressed by what they had to say. I had very little sympathy with their complaints and told them if they wanted affirmation I was the wrong man to whom they should come. However, on account of their coming to me, I want to give you 6 ways to discourage your minister in the New Year:
1. Attend Worship Services irregularly and be unreliable – Maybe attend 2 out of 4 services, sometimes 3 out of 4, but make sure it’s irregular. Nothing depresses ministers like people not being in church. The other thing to do is, when you’re asked about it, be defensive, clearly show to the person who’s asking that you’re ok and it’s no big deal; the church should be grateful you are there at all. If you’re asked to do something, or are on a rota, try to pull out as late as possible or even just not show up.
2. Grumble, moan and complain. – This is an obvious one but when you speak to people about church make them aware how unhappy you are, how unfriendly folk are, how the church isn’t focussed on you and people like you, that you don’t get much out of the preaching, songs are not good, nobody cares and throw in ‘It’s not just me that feels like this’. Compare and contrast with other churches who do things better, preferably bigger churches that have more resources.
3. Focus on minutiae of church life. – Chairs, coffee, timings of meeting, musicians, service schedules, publicity.
4. Speak to others in the congregation but not the leadership – This way word gets back to the leadership through others, ‘Some people are saying…’ ordinarily this is normally one person but nobody likes to name names so they will instead couch it in the plural.
5. When you come to worship, try to arrive late and leave as soon as possible. – It’s really difficult to catch folk who come late and leave immediately after the service. By doing this you’re not giving people the opportunity to speak into your life but it does allow you to use the ‘No one really speaks to me’ line.
6. Take things personally. – If there’s an invitation that you didn’t get, a notice that was given that was poorly worded, an email that didn’t mention you, a thanks that was given by someone in church leadership that overlooked you, a joke that you didn’t appreciate, someone who didn’t get to speak to you on a particular Sunday – make sure you take these as a personal slight and hold on to it.
On the positive side of this have a watch of Ligon Duncan – How to encourage your Pastor.