To be honest, I’ve been blessed. In all the churches I’ve served as pastor or interim pastor, most of my members have been great people. Sometimes, though, a church member can be downright mean. Based on our Lawless Group interviews and surveys over the years, here are some of the reasons church members can be mean:

  1. All church members are still people. That’s not an excuse for meanness, though; it’s just an admission of reality. Even saved people sometimes act like sinners when the right button gets pushed.
  2. Some are non-believers. Even Jesus had one in His immediate group of twelve who was never a believer, and I doubt our churches will do better than Jesus did. Lost people will always act like lost people eventually – even when they don’t think they’re lost.
  3. Many are undiscipled. Too many churches bring people into the local congregation, but then do nothing to disciple them. The new believers remain babies in Christ, even when they’ve been in the church for years. Usually, they whine a lot. 
  4. Some are carrying burdens alone. Often, we don’t know what burdens others bear because we choose to carry our own pain alone. The father who can’t find a job . . . the parents whose child has been arrested . . . the teen whose parents have just split up . . . sometimes the anguish of life weighs so heavy on us that our tempers are short and our words are volatile.
  5. Some have maintained their control over the church by their meanness. Over the years, their rude and unkind behavior has caused others to just give up and let them have their way. They gained control by meanness, and they seek to keep it the same way.
  6. Some were given authority far too early. When our churches give positions to those who haven’t yet grown (and many churches grant positions on the basis of years in the church rather than on maturity in the faith), we shouldn’t be surprised when those leaders fight to protect their toys. That’s what kids do. 
  7. Some are living in sin. For anyone who is a true believer, the conviction of sin cuts deeply – but that doesn’t always result in immediate repentance. Church members who remain in their sin for any length of time sometimes turn their conviction on others.
  8. Some have anger issues. Maybe you know people like that. They’re great one minute, but they erupt like a volcano the next. They’re often quickly repentant, too, but they get no help in breaking the pattern.
  9. The church lets them be mean. At the bottom line, church members are mean because the church allows them to be that way. For whatever reason – perhaps it’s fear of losing members – churches sometimes refuse to confront members who need to repentant of their rudeness and unkindness. 

What other reasons would you add?



  • Jerly Parker says:

    One big reason that you failed to mention is : no deliverance ministry. Full of demons ! The Messiah cast out demons before sending His disciples out to minister to others. The churches are full of demons and doctrines of demons.

    • Almark says:

      The church in a whole as far as people in a building has been dead for over 20 years. These days you find more of the Lord in devotion daily away from the church. It’s a sad thing when you go to a church, and church after church where people simply do not say hello or you feel like you’re just not wanted. Neither the Preacher says much or the people. Jesus wants us to be friendly and with brotherly love, but we get nothing but strangers. It’s also part of the end times attitude spoken of in the bible. It certainly divides people up.

      • Kristen Fleming says:

        I totally agree. The problem isn’t that some people in churches are mean… the entire church -lay people and leadership -are cliquey and exclusive. The pagans I meet through work are more warm and caring and friendly

  • Joyce Bondoc says:

    My mom is a confident heaven qualified church fanatic. What she did was give my dad’s income to churches and lied that it was just gone coz us their children stole it. She backstabbed me to her church fellows despite of me feeding her when she didn’t support my schooling. Will she really go to heaven? What do you think guys? Coz she said she obeys all God’s commandments.

  • C.j. says:

    Mental illness, unresolved grief. God judges the heart.

    • Mark says:

      We just joined a church and I’m already experiencing church leaders being clicky, exclusive and never show any interest in knowing me. But they sure seem to like my tithe every week.

  • Orthodoxia says:

    Manners are taught by parents and teachers. The minister, priest or bishop teaches us to be Christ-like. Unfortunately love of power, ego, pride, glory, megalomania cause one to have a higher opinion of themselves. They think they have achieved holiness or salvation before the time. When we humble ourselves we have nothing to say about others. All we think about is our own unworthiness.

  • Blossom says:

    I have been in church off and on for years. I did not grow up loved and people sniff that out and run people like me off. Not one or two but all churches I really made an effort to belong to ran me off from insulting me with condemning scriptures, snapping st me, shunning what I have to say and withholding natural affection, to the evil eye. I have always been shy and nice to people but I am so down and in a functional depression over it. I do not hate anybody, forgive, and admire all the church people who rejected me. I lived my life in repentance and tried to keep up with tithing. It makes me feel so bad and discouraged that I have a hard time reading the Bible. My siblings and I will not go to church because we grew up so different and have had enough of people’s judgementslism. I am scarred I am drifting away from Jesus even though I pray and cry to Him. He did do a 180 on my life and has me working so I am very thankful.
    Please pray for me.

  • Mark says:

    We just joined a church and I’m already experiencing church leaders being clicky, exclusive and never show any interest in knowing me. But they sure seem to like my tithe every week.

  • Ikram says:

    I have experienced the same in my community to the point where I just don’t want to go so often. I sometimes think God has me working in healthcare to avoid them. They can be very cliquey, judgemental and demeaning. I don’t know why but they favored my sister over me as well. I don’t fit in in my church community or anywhere else. I do love my church itself meaning the services , hymns, history , etc but the people are another story . I’ve been betrayed by many of them too many times to count.

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