Christian Unity
3 Of The Biggest Complaints Pastors Have About Church Members – And What To Do About Them
It's not about getting people to give, attend and volunteer more. They need to fall in love with Jesus again. And so do we.
3. People aren’t volunteering enough

It’s called the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Principle. In most groups, 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people.

In a lot of churches, it’s closer to 90/10.

Before Fixing The Problem

It’s easy to name these problems, jump to some possible solutions, then complain about churches and pastors that are too slow to adapt.

Too easy. And not right.

What’s harder is to pause for a moment and acknowledge the pain being experienced by so many good, godly, prayerful, hard-working pastors and churches.

If this is you, I want you to know that a lot of us have felt and still feel these pains with you.

Even as I’m about to write about some possible solutions to these issues, I realize that implementing them is not as easy as writing about them.

So don’t despair. Hold your head high. Take a breath. Say a prayer. And keep reading.

You’re not in this alone.

Addressing These Frustrations

Before we talk about what to do, let’s take a moment to mention what not to do.


We have to stop complaining. Stop criticizing. Stop yelling that the sky is falling.

Complaining will get us nowhere.

Instead, we need to recommit fully to four important steps:

1. Ask better questions

Instead of wondering “what’s wrong with Christians today!?” we need to start asking “what can we do to adapt to these new realities?”

Instead of wondering “what’s wrong with Christians today!?” we need to start asking “what can we do to adapt to these new realities?”

If people aren’t giving, attending or volunteering as much as they used to, we need to ask “why?” Sincerely and honestly. With a genuine desire to discover solutions together, not to jump in with clever, pre-packaged answers.

2. Listen sympathetically

We need to hear people’s hearts, not just their words.

When people are hurting, they tend not to be able to express their pain in coherent, logical sentences. Instead, they come out in “groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26 – ESV).

This makes them open to an easy attack. If all we’re trying to do is win an argument, we can win it. But we’ll lose the person in the process.

Sitting, listening and empathizing with hurting people is an essential step in helping them heal.

Loving people is always more important than winning arguments.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

June 28, 2019 at 12:49 PM

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