Flashback Friday: How to Complain
Every Friday I dig into the archives and dust off an old post. If you haven’t read it, it’s new to you!
The note landed on my desk several weeks ago. It came to me via a weekend worship service, into the offering bucket, through the hands of the counters, and finally past someone who felt like I should be the one to see it. (“He’s the Connections Pastor. Nobody knows what he does. Maybe he can handle it.”)
The note said, in effect, “Somebody needs to do something about [event in the worship service]. It is making me and many other people very uncomfortable. It makes me want to leave and never return.”
I’m not going to reveal the event itself, because the event is irrelevant. It’s the note, and the complaint lodged within, that I want to focus on.
I’ve gotten plenty of these notes in 20 years of ministry. All of them have said the same thing, though many of them were complaining about different things. They all followed the same formula: I don’t like ___ + other people also don’t like ___ = fix it or I’ll leave.
You need to know that I’m all for feedback. I’m a big proponent of your voice being heard. And I solicit, abide by, and adapt to feedback all the time in my role as a pastor. But here’s what this person needs to know about how to deliver effective complaints: