Three Tips for Dealing with Hard to Handle Church Members

  Every pastor enjoys working with the people in his congregation that are full of joy and cooperative.  There is great pleasure in working together to get a task completed.  But every pastor also knows that not all church members are this way.  Some are down right hard to handle.  Below are three tips to help deal with these difficult situations.

  1.  Never let them see you sweat.  This was the advertising slogan for a major deodorant company talking about using their product so people wouldn’t know you are nervous.  But the sweat I’m talking about is caused by another kind of heat—the heat of anger.  It is so easy to lose your temper when faced with a hard headed person.  The temptation is to tell them off.  One pastor I knew grabbed a man and pushed him into a wall saying “You’re going to repent!”

  Although that may be an extreme example, the fact is that you must control your temper.  Getting mad and blowing off some steam may make you feel better right now, but it will lead to even bigger problems down the road.  I know that these people are frustrating, but in God’s eyes you are frustrating sometimes and He puts up with you, right?  So keep your cool—don’t let them irritate you into saying something you’ll regret.

  2.  Deal with them as they are.  While serving as a church youth director right out of college I was confronted by a member who was way out of line.  I spoke to my pastor about it and he told me “You have to deal with people as they are, not how they ought to be.”  That was a life changing revelation to me and is still my favorite quote.

  People are not perfect.  That guy giving you a hard time certainly is not (do I hear an “amen?”).  But he is still one of God’s people.  Paul wanted to give the Corinthians spiritual meat, but gave them milk instead because that’s where they were.  They should have been mature, but they weren’t.  So Paul gave them milk.  You must do the same thing as you deal with difficult people.

  3.  Always love them.  It’s easy to love the folks you get along with.  But Jesus said there was no reward in that.  You must learn to love—really love—those hard to handle folks.  Will they respond with love in return?  Not always, but that is not your concern.  Your concern is to be right with God and this is how He says to operate.

  Love covers a multitude of sins.  And if you truly love these people you will be equipped to handle their bad attitudes, their apathy, their blatant opposition toward you and the ministry you are trying to move forward.

  It is never easy to be faced with people who have bad attitudes, especially in the church where everyone should always have good outlooks.  But you will always have some of these folks and you must remember that Jesus sent you to minister to them too.