10 Church Members Who Drive Me Crazy

I love the local church.  I really do. Deeply. But, almost every church I know has members and attenders that get under the skin of a leader. Here are 10 of those types of people for me:

  1. The “doom and gloom” member: Nothing ever goes right for this member, and it’s never his or her fault. I don’t even like to see this person coming my way.
  2. The “on the edge of leaving” member: He’s always threatening to leave over something – so much so that you learn to ignore his threats (and frankly, wish he would leave).
  3. The “amateur theologian” member: This member thinks he knows theology, and he’s always debating something. Usually, he has his own theological stance that he fights to promote and defend.
  4. The “Did you know?” member: He wants to be “in the know” about everything in the church. In fact, he’s involved in almost all of the church’s gossip and gets angry when he’s out of the loop.
  5. The “recommitment” member: She shows up about every six months, recommits her life to Jesus, and then disappears for the next six months.
  6. The “constitutional lawyer” member: Nobody knows the church constitution like this member does, and he brings out the documents any time he doesn’t like something.
  7. The “internet sermon troll” member: He listens to everybody else’s sermons online, and then critiques the pastor's sermons in light of others. Indeed, he listens for errors more than for truth and application for himself.
  8. The “nostalgia freak” member: She knows everything about the church’s history, and she sees her role as protecting the past by fighting against anything new. You just know she’s going to oppose something before you ever bring it up. 
  9. The “unforgiving saint” member: He got angry over something years ago, and he refuses to let it go. When confronted about it, he can spiritualize his reasons with the best of them.
  10. The “on sabbatical” member: No matter what you do, this member refuses to serve in the church. “I’ve done my duty in the past,” he says.  

To be honest, folks like these make pastoral ministry less than fun some days. Here’s my encouragement to you, though: take time to pray specifically for these members in your church. Maybe God will change a few so they don’t drive you crazy any more.


  • Bill Pitcher says:

    …and I have one member who, on a good day, is numbers 2, 4, 6, 8 and 9 all rolled into one!

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    Wish I’d have thought about that! Thanks, Bill.

  • Kenda Moss says:

    In a bit of a different way (because I work within a women’s Christian Counseling Ministry) I keep wondering how I can teach on Hebrews 13:17 without sounding self-serving? And I’ve never been able to figure it out.

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      I think we have to teach the entirely of the text: we who lead will answer to God for the care of the souls of others. That is, the responsibilities go both ways. Followers are to submit, but leaders answer to the highest power. Following that word is not self-serving; it’s a heavy duty responsibilty. It’s weighty.  

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