The Adventist Guide to Dealing with Difficult Church Members: How to Love Your Neighbor Without Losing Your Mind

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Have you ever wanted to run screaming from the sanctuary when Brother Grouchypants starts criticizing the pew cushions? This list won’t make him stop, but it might make you feel better as you deal with the difficult people in church:

  • Have a church-wide “Difficult Member Appreciation Day” and give them a special award for their contributions to the church. They’ll either be touched or confused.
  • Channel your inner Ellen White and write a book about dealing with difficult church members. It worked for her.
  • Host a potluck where the only dish served is humble pie, and invite the difficult church member to be the guest of honor.
  • Consider enrolling the difficult member in a “How to Be a Good Adventist” course. Extra credit if they attend all 28 fundamental classes.
  • Ask the difficult church member if they’ve ever considered a career in door-to-door evangelism. Maybe they just need an outlet for all that passion.
  • Suggest that the difficult member take up knitting. They’ll be too busy making prayer shawls to cause trouble.
  • Bring a therapy dog to church to help calm the difficult member down. Bonus points if it’s a poodle named “Ellen.”
  • Consider offering the difficult church member a free subscription to Adventist Today. Maybe they just need something to read during the service.
  • Try to identify the difficult member’s love language. Is it acts of service? Gifts? Quality time? Maybe you can win them over with some vegan brownies.
  • If the difficult member is particularly stubborn, you might need to try a little reverse psychology. Just start agreeing with everything they say until they get confused.
  • Create a “Difficult Member Bingo” game to play during church. Every time the difficult member does something annoying, mark off a square. If you get a bingo, treat yourself to a veggie burger.
  • Bring a life-size cardboard cutout of the difficult member to church, so you can practice dealing with their behavior without actually having to deal with them.
  • Consider forming a support group for those dealing with difficult church members. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous, but for people addicted to arguing about the color of the carpet in the sanctuary.
  • Try using humor to diffuse the difficult member’s anger. Just make sure you’re funny, or you might make things worse.
Remember that dealing with difficult church members is a test of your patience and faith. Just keep praying, and someday you’ll be rewarded with a position on the church board.


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