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The Consequences of Trying to Please Everyone

Hey, you want to know how to make some people really mad in your church? Move the handicap parking, and neglect to tell those affected by the move beforehand. I mean everyone knows how much people love surprises. They love them so much that they’ll want to meet with you to discuss just how much they loved it.

That was the situation I was recently in, but similar scenarios play out in churches all the time. The pastor or leadership has an idea that they believe will help the church grow. It could be changing the style of the music, the way they dress, how the church is decorated, or a variety of other things.

They go to put those changes in place, and all of a sudden people start talking.

Who made this decision? Why are we doing this? What was wrong with how we did it before?  Why didn’t you ask us first?

How you respond in this situation is very important.

On one hand, if you follow through with the idea, you run the risk of making people mad and them leaving the church, potentially taking more with them.

On the other hand, if you decide not to implement your idea or compromise on the idea, you run into even greater risks.

For example:

  • You risk losing control. Once you give in or compromise what you know is best for the church, you’re no longer steering the ship. Someone else is.
  • You risk losing the vision. You’re no longer leading people towards a God-given vision. Now, you’re just trying to keep people happy.
  • You risk losing your purpose. A pastor is supposed to shepherd the flock. Once the sheep are in control, you’ve lost your purpose.
  • You risk losing your joy. Once you give up control and back away from what you know is God’s will, you’ll quickly lose your joy.
  • You risk losing other leaders. People who have the gift of leadership can quickly pick up on people pleasing. Once they see that taking place, most of them will decide it’s best to leave the church.
  • You risk losing the voice of God. With so many other voices to answer to, it becomes easy to stop hearing the voice of God. You may find yourself asking, what’s the point in listening for God’s direction if you’re not able to put any of it into action?

In my situation, we were able to repair the relationship by apologizing and explaining the vision behind the decision. We haven’t always been that fortunate, but we’ve tried to always do what God led us to.

How have you handled these situations? Leave a comment below, and let us know. Also if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog where I confess mistakes like this, share what I’ve learned, and hopefully save you some trouble down the road.

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One thought on “The Consequences of Trying to Please Everyone

  1. Martin

    If I’m leading and no one is following….either I’m out of sight or I’m not communicating in ways that personally enable others to embrace what we’re seeking to accomplish. To walk on without the sheep is to be more like a rancher, not a shepherd whose sheep need to hear our tender voice and feel our caring.

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