How to Deal With Disruptive Church Sheep Pastors Advice
People who attend church come in different personalities with different kinds of behaviors. Some are cool and calm, while others are aggressive and loud. You will find those who are easy to get along with, and others who must air their opinions and have their way.
The latter is the group that will give you the most trouble in the church. It can be hard to deal with people who are disruptive and don’t respect the sacredness of the church, or the leadership. As a pastor or church leader, you must make a decision on what to do and how to handle disruptive church members.
We have been blessed with an abundance of churches in the United States. People can have a selection to choose who they would like to worship. They can visit around and find a group of gods’ children that they fit with.
Strife can grow into Bitterness and Violence if not Dealt with. I am quiet and peaceful by nature. But there are times this is important to be dealt with.
As people serve in the God’s Kingdom, they have different gifts. Even the apostle Paul had problems between him and Barnabus. They separated and went their own ways. great good is done by both of them but at that time their differences were so great they needed to separate. They both did good work just in different places.
Deal with Strife Quickly / Festers
In looking at the number of churches across the United States, I wish I could feel that there are so many because of our great desire to spread God’s word. But my guess is that many were not able to have what they wanted. So they gathered up their marbles and went down the Street.
Personel Example – Guyana Mission
Darlene and I Lead a Large Mission Group to Coomacka in Guyana. Coomacka is a small River Village on the Derera River. A Mining Village full of families that were supported by the local Boxiate Mine they worked in.
In That Group, that summer, we had Two very Strong, Effective, Knowledgeable Preachers. They Have both gone on now to be working in Heaven. As we arrived both men had great bible knowledge, but the best way I could describe it was one that was Very Conservative. The other was very Progressive. It was as if I had two Roosters in the same coop.
What Blossomed was that they could not work together, stress and strife began to blossom from the start.
The Lord Blessed me with a Way to deal with it. I took one preacher to the Village of Coomacka and he was the driving force for that two-week mission.
I Took the Second Preacher up the River about 2 Miles to the Next Village. It was called Three Friends. I sent part of the Team to help them. He was the most evangelistic of the two and there was no church in that village
We set up a tent in Coomacksa for night preaching Crusades. each Night was full.
We set up a Tent in Three Friends for preaching and each night was full there also.
I took my one team and split it up. The Lord extremely blessed that Trip. We Baptized 52 People during that campaign.
What began in Strife was guided that two efforts were begun.
Did the Strong-Willed men of God make up – Nope But Just Like Paul and Barnabas God’s Kingdom Moved Forward.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Jesus said how important this is especially in working with people. ( Mathew 5:7-10) this in his teachings on the sermon of the mound. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
Meet with New People Placing Membership
When New People Place Membership, when new Members are Baptized and become members of God’s family. It is a wise practice to meet with new members and lay out how things function and flow in the flock
- Begin this meeting in Prayer and in a separate room where Quiet Heart Felt thoughts can be shared
- This allows you to say this is how we handle differences
- This allows you to find out the spiritual Gifts they have so you can guide them where to serve
- This allows you to make sure how the family fits into the family and all will be fed.
- This will give the incoming Family great respect for leadership that cares for them and to lay out their growth in the kingdom
- You can help them understand the Local Leadership
- Place them in a Ministry to serve
- If They have left another Flock, it is wise to understand why
Define a good process for Decision making
Once you place them in the family, let them know who they can go to for helpful guidance. Set Them up with a Mentor. If they have good ideas and suggestions create a process where these invaluable created ideas can surface and be considered.
Deal Compassionately but Quickly with Strife
You always want to display compassion and patience with people struggling with sin, with control, with power whatever might be causing the strife.
When Jesus walked into the temple one day, He found people engaging in businesses of all kinds. He could not believe what
He was seeing because these people knew better than to defile the house of God with activities that belong in the marketplace. In His holy anger, He removed them from the temple and even kicked their stuff out. He knew that talking to them would not do, He had to take drastic action.
“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers” (Matthew 21:12-13).
Reasons that some are Disruptive
- Doctrine – Some areas are Grey / Difficult to Understand
- Worship – Very Volitale area – Changes can be challenging to handle
- Facilities – People have very firm thoughts on color, usage
- Planning – Vision – Church needs Direction
- Control – This is a hard one some people are wired that they want to be in charge/boss/. an atmosphere of submission is very helpful. I have seen several times people that have struggled with control – put in charge because of their desire to be boss. When this happens usually the humble servants will move away from that ministry/class etc. A person usually ends up by themselves with a failed ministry.
- Leadership – By the nature of this gift These people will lead – it is the wise leadership that can direct these Kingdom beneficial directions
- Finances – Money is always a hot topic – seek transparency – teams work well her spreading oy responsibilities
Changing Ministers / Hard Both Ways
I wanted to give a complete section on this it is a very difficult subject. I have experienced this from both sides. Being the minister when the leadership decides to make a change. And Being in the Leadership when they Decide that a change is needed. Let me Share thoughts both ways
It is easy to assume that the Minister should walk by faith, and They Should, but they are still people, and working by faith is extremely challenging
- Losing your Financial Support
- Losing your Insurance
- Losing your Housing
- Where am I going to Go
- What about my Children
- I will Never Preach Again / Dispair
Leadership / View
The Church Leadership may decide that they need to change the pastor. The Pastor is usually one of the most important directions giving vocal communications every week to the whole family.
- The church is Not Growing
- Minister is not Able to Fulfill his work
- Minister is not growing
- Been many Years and flock needs a change
- Strife between Leadership and the Minister
It can be a very stressful time if leadership determines it is best to change Preachers. Many Congregations have split during this turbulent time. If the Minister is not willing to leave peacefully when asked things can become combative.
One Solution we implemented is that we gave a very generous Leaving Package. We would give the Minister 3-6 months of full severance pay to help him and his family make the change, and find a new position. We conditioned that severance on the Leaving Preacher not Splitting the Flock.
Like Jesus, we must take drastic action against disruptive church members who are unrepentant and have no intention to change and respect the rules and regulations of the church they attend.
There are various ways you can deal with members who have a tendency to disrupt services, meetings, or events. Let us look at some of these ways.
1. Pray for wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). The first thing you need to do is pray for God to give you the wisdom to deal with those who are disruptive in your church. God will show you the truth in the situation you are dealing with, and the motives of the problematic church members.
Wisdom from God will guide you on what to do or say so that you don’t complicate the situation at hand. By involving God, you are inviting Him to intervene in a difficult situation and work in the hearts of all involved.
Is Strife a Sin
James says that underlying strife is sin in (James 4:1)
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
What the Bible says about Strife
- Solomon Says –
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” ( Proverbs 20:3)
- In (Proverbs 18:1-6)
“An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. 2Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. 3When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach. 4The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream. 5It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice. 6The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.“
- Paul Says – in (1 Timothy 6: 2-5) “These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
- Strife / Pride ( Proverbs 13:10) “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
2. Confront the Disruptive Church Member
After you have prayed, you can now summon the disruptive church member and let them know how their behavior is affecting others in the church. Go into detail about what you and others have observed, and the damage their words or actions have caused others.
Listen to the disruptive church member’s side of the story so that you will make an informed decision. Remind the person that they cannot continue with the disruptive behavior and have to change if they are to remain in your church.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” The behavior of those causing disruption can spread to others in the church and cause more harm. Warn the disruptive church member and observe their behavior to see if there is any change. If none, it is time to consider asking the person to leave the church.
3. Ask the Disruptive Church Member to Leave the Church
When having a candid conversation with a disruptive church member fails, it is time to ask him or her to leave the church. This will be in the best interests of the other members and the health of your church community. Others also need to see that disruptive behavior will not be tolerated by the church leadership.
If this member had duties in any ministry, it is time to hand them over to someone else. Don’t count on this person doing a proper handover, they probably will just walk away. You can even start planning to relieve them of their duties before asking them to leave to ensure continuity of their role in ministry.
Explain to the disruptive church member that you had to take the drastic action of asking them to leave because they have not changed their ways.
They will not agree with you but that should not stop you from taking action. Remember that God is the one who vindicates you in such cases and you don’t have to worry about what the person will say out there.
4. Inform other Church Members
If the leaving of the disruptive church member was a messy affair, you can explain to the other church members why the person had to leave.
You don’t have to go into personal details but what is enough to explain the situation. Others will probably have experienced the person and knew that it was only a matter of time before they are sent away for their rebellious behavior.
Some other church members may leave with this person, and that is expected. You have no control over who chooses to leave your church. It’s important that the message gets across to other church members that disrespect and rebellion will not be tolerated. Trust that God has the situation under control and that no gap will be created by the leaving of the disruptive church member.
It can be scary dealing with members who choose to do things their way in your church with total disregard of set rules. With God’s help, you can manage the situation because He is an ever-present help when you need Him.
Always get the facts right before you confront a member who is uncooperative. This will avoid instances where you are acting on rumors and compounding the situation.
Don’t rely on the person telling you the truth because they may not. But when you have an account of their behavior from many witnesses, you can be sure you know the truth about the person. Always act in wisdom for the best outcome of the situation.