April 3, 2007

You Can't Please Everyone

I have worked in ministry or some form of customer service industry for more than 15 years now. One of the hardest lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) is this: You can't please everyone!

That may seem obvious, but it is often rediscovered at every corner.

A few years ago a pastor told me, "There really isn't a right or wrong way to do what you want to do. You just have to choose who you are going to offend." What he meant was that there was no biblical mandate for the course of action, but because it was an issue of style people would either like it or they wouldn't. I chose, and some people liked it and some didn't.

In any group of people there are going to be those who love what you are doing and the way you are doing it and there are going to be those who hate what you are doing and how you are doing it. This shouldn't be a reason to ignore everyone; even critics can add to the conversation.

Awhile back I was compiling comments from an evaluation form for a workshop. I noticed something very interesting. There were several people who said, "The workshop was too long!" There were several people who said, "The workshop needs to be longer!" Some said, "I loved every minute of it. It was a good overview." Others said, "You seem to be imbalanced and focus on a few details."

I wondered if they were at the same workshop!

People do this when they come into the church. You have the Baptists who think you are not talking about the Bible enough. You have the Nazarenes who think you are not holiness enough. You have the Pentecostals who think you are not charismatics enough. You have the mainliners who think you are too conservative. You have the fundamentalists who think you are too worldly. You have the unchurched who think you are too "churchy" and the long-time church attenders who think you are becoming too worldly.

While we have to be sensitive to people and their ideas, I have a thought...the pastor should spend large amounts of time listening to the voice of God. I believe that God prepares the pastor through his or her life events, likes and dislikes, character and gifting, family, everything that happens in the leader's life is preparing him for the task God has planned.

Does following God mean that you will have to pay no attention to some people and their ideas and opinions?

Does following God mean that you will have to ignore some Christian people's ideas and opinions?


Invest your time listening for God's voice and leading, and then do whatever it takes to go there with Him.

1 comment:

  1. Trusting God, being able to discern
    His voice over all the others,going
    in the direction He leads...
    Why would anyone think a human would have a better plan than God?
    Saying yes to God means saying yes to something wonderful. You will reach the people that God means for
    YOU to reach in the way that fits
    your make-up. God will bring the right people to you that need what you have to offer.