Dealing with problem people

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by steveo, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. steveo

    steveo
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    Here is the question I have for the pastors out there. We have a member that is in our church that always has a problem with someone or something. We have had unity for the last year and I just completed my first year as a pastor.
    The church was a dying church but God has been adding to the church over the year, and we have seen average attendance go from about 10 to 45.
    What would you do???
     
  2. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    Praise the Lord and keep praying for the increase.

    There will always be one who is at odds with others. Thank God you only have one.

    In one church, I had a deacon who thought he was God-ordained to object to everything the pastor presented. One time I went to him and suggested he consider a certain thing and that he present it to the deacon's board. He did, it was passed, and I never had a problem with him again.

    In simplicity; outsmart him with kindess.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. dclark14

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    Great advice, Jim.
    Steveo, I have been through this in a very similar situation.First let me say,if you have unity in the fellowship you are blessed!I also had to deal with a deacon that I "inherited" upon my call to the church. Knowing that the real problem was HIS past, and not anything that I was or was not doing, and not any problem within the church, I followed the advice of Romans 2:4".....the kindness/goodness of God leads you(him) to repentance."Over time I did discover a certain area in which his advice was helpful, and I recognized God's direction there.I did not allow his attitude or some other negative things to break my focus on ministry, however.I need to add that all this was difficult, but in God's time I held a funeral, and we now experience the unity that is needed.
    Blessings, my brother,
    Dave.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Growing always makes hte problem people lose power, which is a good thing. But loving confrontation on the basis of Scripture is always warranted. The biggest mistake I have made in my short ministry is when I let a problem go unaddressed for over a year and a half. My main mentor in the ministry warned me to deal with it and I was too scared for a couple of different reasons. The end result was that we lost a family who was a vital part of the ministry. All because I was unwilling to step up to the plate and say the hard things that needed to be said.

    Talking to my mentor after this was over, he said, "What have you learned?" I laughingly said, "I learned I should have listened to you." Then I said, "I learned that problem just don't go away. You have to address them."

    If it were me, I would assess the influence of this person and the weight which their views carry. If it has the potential to do damage, I would sit down lovingly and use the Scripture to talk about the fellowship and unity of the body. Be willing to entertain their opinions and thank them for talking to you when it would be easy to spread it throughout the church among people who can't really help the problem.

    You might start with, "I feel bad that I haven't been able to minister to you as well as I should and would like to as your pastor. How can I help address this problem with you?"
     
  5. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    Focus on reaching not on keeping.
     
  6. amen_corner

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    A pastor once told me to keep my friends close and my enemies closer. What he meant was, to not allow yourself to push away difficult people, but to find a way to involve them in your ministry and the ministry of the church. Doing so silences the criticism to a degree.
     
  7. j_barner2000

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    How about when the senior pastor's daughter is the problem member and he decides the issues are inconsequental?

    I am just a member whom the church allowed to be trained as an intern.
     
  8. Greg Linscott

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  9. Jim1999

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    J. Barner2000

    Just remember what you are..an intern..and this nest is not your home. There are some things that prudence says you ought not to touch, but keep in the resources of your mind for when you become the chief.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. j_barner2000

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    With the situation we find ourseles in, after much prayer and agonizing, we have decided to leave that church, while we wait for our house to sell. We believe God is sending us back home. There is a church there that has expressed a need for an assistant or associate pastor. We believe the Lord is preparing us to go fill that need. It is time for us to move on for the welfare of our children and to continue to grow in His service. I truly believe I am not ready for my own ministry, but the next step is as a second man. There is a small church we can worship with where the pastor will hopefully allow me to minister temporarily until the Lord opens the door to return. Waiting for the snow to melt hopefully...
     
  11. Circuitrider

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    I like the advice that Pastor Larry gave, but I would add one additional thought. Once you have dealt with a problem person, you may find that they are still there and you still have to face them at every service. :eek:

    A wise pastor once used a fitting illustration to teach how to deal with problems. He grew up in the hills of West Virginia. In opening up new fields, they had cut down trees in a valley (hollar, he called it). Then they simply plowed around the stumps and let them rot out. ;)

    Sometimes after you have dealt with a problem person and they still stay around and are a thorn to you, you may just have to plow around them and wait for God to naturally remove them. :cool:
     
  12. steveo

    steveo
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    Thanks for all your feedback:)
    Steve
     
  13. jshurley04

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    I have seen pastors that have encountered the same type of problem. They simply ignored the problem and dealt with the person, sometimes they come around, sometimes the church continues to grow through the subtraction of certain members or even families. However, remember that the subtraction part is all God's doing, we are still commanded to do right, follow God and reach out to our fellow members in the local body.
     
  14. jshurley04

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    I have seen pastors that have encountered the same type of problem. They simply ignored the problem and dealt with the person, sometimes they come around, sometimes the church continues to grow through the subtraction of certain members or even families. However, remember that the subtraction part is all God's doing, we are still commanded to do right, follow God and reach out to our fellow members in the local body.
     
  15. Plain Old Bill

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    All of the above sounds good but,how old is this person, how active in the church is this person?How come if this person has a problem with this person or that person they don't deal with it and bring it to you?Does this person need counseling ?
    If you have already answered and dealt with all of these questions regarding this person you might suggest that someone else in the church already has the job of complaining about all of the members but that you know a church down the road looking for someone just like them.
    But before you do that is there some ministry function they are qualified for that they are not doing you could get them into. If they are busy doing Gods' work they will not be busy minding everybody elses business.
     

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