I received an ugly letter from someone last summer. Now that enough time has elapsed, I can share this. His complaint was that he and his family had been to church with us two or three times and they had not been able to make any friends. He then proceeded with a long list of other complaints. This was my response to him:
Mr. Smith (not his real name of course)
I’m sorry that we have failed you so. But with eight deaths in our church family, multiple funerals, a very tragic motorcycle accident, several cases of terminal cancer, Student Life Camp for the teenagers,
for our kids, and the the summer slump, we are shorthanded on volunteer help and our church staff has been spread very thin all summer. We have to prioritize our responses in times of emergency and intense ministry seasons like this, so we cannot always fix things around here as quickly as we would like to. This may come as a surprise to you, but there have been greater needs in our church than you and your demands. Vacation Bible School
You stated you had no luck making any friends at our church, after three visits, and that we had failed you in that regard. Sorry. We can’t do for you what you cannot do for yourself. And for your information, there are 499 other people at PCC who have been able to make friends in spite of our apparent shortcomings. Could it be that your failure to make friends has more to do with your own inability rather than us? You seem comfortable and skilled at criticizing others in the form of a written letter, but maybe you should concentrate on developing your interpersonal social skills by trying to be nice and reaching out to others yourself. As the Bible states, “a man that has friends must show himself friendly” (Proverbs 18:24b). In light of this, you have a long way to go.
It seems nothing in our church escaped your criticism. Rather than respond to your complaints line by line, I will tell you that I found your comments to be very insulting. You found only what you were looking for – fault – which makes you a little man. I recognize there are many things that need improving. On the other hand, our church is full of people who are gracious enough to overlook these weaknesses and, unlike you, are kind enough to actually offer a helping hand to improve things around here. To that end, most of the ministries at our church are volunteer driven. So if I have to choose between people like them and someone like you, they win. That’s why they are my friends and may explain why you don’t have any.
Good luck in your search for a church.
Pastor – PCC