On Nitpicking & Bickering in the Church

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I think we in America take going to church for granted. We spend oodles of time criticizing the programs, giving our unsolicited two-cents-worth about the sermons, fighting about the music style or the color of the brand new carpet. Why I even read once about a church that split over whether there should be real or artificial flowers on the altar.

Geesh.

I am not saying there aren’t legitimate reasons to talk with your pastoral staff about serious concerns. Or give honest feedback when asked. And certainly if something is wonky theologically or you see procedures that are unbiblical, voice your concern. If it isn’t remedied, you may need to leave.  Or sometimes there isn’t anything wrong biblically, you just feel called to attend a different church. Whatever the reason, if you must exit, leave graciously  and without gossiping. (My husband and I did that wrong once and right once. Trust me, doing it right brings peace and preserves relationships. After all, you have to spend eternity together with your brothers and sisters in Christ so you may as well start getting along now!)

Yes, God looks down on our churches these days and oft times sees His children selfishly nitpicking and bickering in the ole’ U.S. of A.

Meanwhile, in some other countries, Christians cannot worship freely. They hide. They have no Bible in their native tongue. They are persecuted. They are killed.

How about when we are tempted to pick up the phone (or pound on the keyboard) to complain about something at church, we pause and pray for the persecuted church instead?

I’m sure they would LOVE to spend a Sunday morning in a service, listening to any kind of music that exalts God no matter the tempo or loudness. They wouldn’t care about the carpet color or the length of the sermon or whether the ushers wore ties or t-shirts.

Why, I’ll bet they wouldn’t even care if the flowers were picked fresh that morning or picked up last year on clearance at the local Hobby Lobby.

Now, let’s praise. No negative. Just positive. Tell us one thing you appreciate about your church, pastor or fellow-worshippers. 

NOTE: Our favorite resource to use with our kids and remind ourselves of our persecuted brothers and sisters is this.

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  • I love that my church acknowledges the presence and unique experience of international Christians. And that the persecuted church is acknowledged and brought to the attention of the congregation frequently. I also appreciate that in spite of it physically being a big church, it does not feel so because everyone engages and acknowledges and welcomes everyone. I love my church! (and you!!! :-) ).

  • My pastor is one of the hardest working people I know–we are a Deaf missions church, and he is working a HUGE area of our state. Yet, he always has time to relate to us–he has prayed with me when I needed to put my cat to sleep due to cancer, he reads books to my son after service, his family has attended my sons’s brithday party. I really feel the reflection of God’s love. Our members have accepted our hearing family in their Deaf church, and I love them for it.

    HOW COOL IS THIS POSITIVITY??!! :)

    Carissa in eastern Iowa

  • My husband & I work with an association of 21 churches so we’re in a different one almost every Sunday. They all have different styles of worship, different styles of buildings, & different practices, some good, some not so good. But I always go with an expectancy of having an encounter with God, not being entertained or personally gratified & I am rarely disappointed. We have wonderful pastors & lay people to serve alongside. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

  • Karen, I go to two churches and I love them both, the first is from my childhood and I always feel like I am coming home whether I go every day or haven’t been there in a bit, our pastor is extremely reverent yet offers much counsel for living out our faith in every day life…the other is newer to me (about 5 years!) and offers me different opportunities to worship; for example, it is open 24 hours a day and offers a variety of bible study or special masses. I love them both and I am so grateful to be a part of each community.

  • I love that the word is spoken and our Pastor tries to tie it in with everyday life. I am grateful that I am able to attend this church and church family.

  • Yes, let’s make an effort to continually pray for persecuted Christians and the persecuted church.
    I love my church family because they are so loving, kind, compassionate, thoughtful and care about Christian spiritual growth and development.
    I love my pastor and his wife because they are bright lights in the way they share the gospel of Christ.
    I love my church because it is a Bible-believing church, very mission oriented: locally, nationally and internationally. Praise God!

  • I am so blessed to have 7 pastors at our church (yes we have alot of people). They compliment each other. We have 4 services. They are totally there for each member. They are easy to talk to. Our church has a wonderful children’s program. I am truly blessed.

  • Something I love about our church is the genuine enthusiasm we greet each other with each week. My early training and natural inclination make me want to enter church silently and spend time in prayer and contemplation before worship. But at my church, the fellowship starts and ends each Sunday in the parking lot. You’d think we hadn’t seen each other in a year rather than a week–so much smiling and laughing and hugging! And that Sunday morning friendliness carries over into our small groups where we get to know each other more intimately and care for one another’s needs. We are truly a church family.

  • Our pastor and his amazing wife. Many years ago while standing as president of an Aglow audience of women, the Lord spoke to me as He spotlighted one woman, saying,”Take her to lunch.” I did. Not knowing she was a pastor’s wife. She complained and whined all through lunch. She is now an outstanding example of what our Lord can do with us if we yield to HIs will. While playing the piano and singing. leading our worship service, she sings from her heart bringing the congregation right to the throne room. Our Lord uses her lovely singing voice and humility as she transparently graces over her piano mistakes and leads on to the heavenly places.
    We love her.

  • I love our church’s readiness to respond to a need. Whether it’s a young family who needs diapers for the baby or some youth who need sponsorships for camp or a member battling a devastating illness, people are so quick to respond and offer assistance. Others really see the love of God modeled through our members in a time of crisis.
    And I just have to mention our awesome pastor. He preaches the Word of God without compromise or apology, and he is truly a shepherd to the flock God has entrusted to him.
    We are truly blessed!

  • Our message series are great, I love Pastor Jason ‘s style of presenting sermons (we call them messages), and my favorite thing is Kids Connect, which is where kids learn about Jesus in an environment appropriate for their age. My kids love it. Woo hoo Hope Lutheran in Oconomowoc, WI (hopeinjesus.org). We’ve (my family and I) have been missing church for several months now since we’ve moved, but now after reading all of the positive messages about everyone’s church, I think I’m going to start attending regularly. Please pray for me because I do love our church. We need to attend regularly.

  • I love that my church and pastor love reaching the needs of people in the community as well as in the church. Also our church is a rainbow of colors and culture…

  • Our pastor is the reason we chose our church. He is an excellent Bible teacher who also guides us and challenges us to apply what we’ve learned. He really cares about people and has a great sense of humor, too.

  • The most wonderful thing about my church, pastor and church family is that the teachings come right from the Bible and we are encouraged to read the Bible ourselves.

  • When I walk through the doors of my church, I hear laughter & excitement. I can’t begin to describe the feeling it gives me. It doesn’t matter how you are dressed or what your past is, everyone is so friendly & encouraging. Our pastor & his wife are the best! We also have a great group who work with the children & teens!

  • I love our pastoral staff. Our pastor does a wonderful job of making the Biblical lessons apply to our lives today. He preaches the Word and holds us accountable – without shouting or making a big show out of his sermon. Our praise and worship time is also led by a Godly man who prepares our hearts to receive God’s word.

  • Excellent idea to pray for persecuted Christians when we are tempted to criticize church or worship. The Lord receives worship when we love.

  • I’m so blessed to be part of a Church that welcomes everyone, a Pastor that is the real thing and a daughter that is an Associate Children’s Minister there, serving those young families that come in looking for a place for their children to learn about God’s love.
    I don’t see anything else other than God’s love when I walk in to worship. God is good!!!

  • just out of curiosity, is it nitpicking in your opinion, to question an event that may have had a negative impact on outreach? for example, our church held an event for the community in which we charged for a portion of it. There was no mention in the advertisement of the event that a charge would be required and there was no disclosure as to what the funds were to be used for. I invited friends to the event, not knowing we would be charging and ended up by luck having to cover the costs. honestly, I was embarrassed because I didn’t know we were charging for the even and I couldn’t tell what the proceeds went towards. Several churches in the area had similar events. All publicized as free. We didn’t hand out info about our church either. Is it wrong to question the intent of the event because I already now it has had at least one negative impact on a person searching for a church. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • I would not talk to anyone in the congregation about it but would talk in person to the one in charge of deciding to charge for the event and yet publicize it otherwise. I would believe the best before assuming the worst and go in with a gentle spirit and a heart that wants to understand why rather than complain. It might have been a mistake, miscommunication or such. If not, then ask them to help you to comprehend why it was done that way. Be sure to thank them for the time and effort they put in on that event and all year long.

  • Our 32 year old son and his wife are expecting their first baby any day. He was just diagnosed 2 weeks ago with testicular cancer. Our church family has shown such loving support it is incredible. And further, all the churches in our area have added him to their prayer list. I’ve had calls from all over to tell us they and their church family are praying for him and his family. I love the way God’s people come together in times of need and storm the gates of heaven for the needs of others. Our church is a loving family. We have different opinions on things, of course, but when it comes to the serious things in life, we pull together as a family should. We are so thankful and blessed.

  • I absolutely LOVE our minister!!! He is the most caring, unselfish, God loving man there is! We are a small congregation in a small town and the entire community knows who he and his family is. He’s been our minister for over 40 years! His wife continues to be the choir/music teacher at the high school – with over 35 years of service there as well. He does not judge a person by any means and welcomes all to worship our Lord and Savior! There’s not another minister I know of that calls each and everyone of his congregation on their birthday to wish them a blessed day! There’s no other! Love The Copelands!

  • I attend the church that my husband grew up in. It’s a small church, but it’s a good church. I was divorced before I married my husband that I have now. His church accepted me, even before I was a christian. They have been wonderful. My children are getting the opportunity to grow up with a church family and learn about God, an opportunity that I wasn’t given when I was younger. My daughter is 9 and goodness, she has lots of questions. I love our Pastor, because she can ask him anything and he finds a way to explain it where a child can understand. He has baptized me, my husband, and my daughter now. She was baptized in January and I was baptized 3 years ago. I know that I can count on my pastor to answer any questions me or my family has. He’s amazing and it shows in our church family. I feel so blessed to have them in my life and my children’s lives.

  • I am so blessed by a down to earth pastor who is easy to talk to and his wonderful family. He preaches the word of God in an easy to understand manner. He is always talking & preaching to you & never down to you. His family shows the love of God in their words & actions. Thank you God for the Bishop family at Ridin High Cowboy Church, Union Valley, TX.