Common Complaints about the Church (from Believers and Unbelievers)
2. All They Are Interested in is Money
3. Pastoral Staff are Paid too Much
You can probably think of some more but after almost 20 years in ministry, I have heard these complaints the most often. It comes from a minority within the church (thank God) and also from those who are outside of the church. These complaints are largely excuses. I will seek to explain that conclusion.
Many of these same people go to a concert and pay a ticket price to enter. If someone wanted to see Jason Aldean in Hershey, PA this August, check out how much they would pay. Rascall Flatts' tickets in Cincinnati this September would cost someone between $38.00 and $91.80. Wish to see the NY Giants face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in October? Then prepare to plunk down almost $60 in general admission. When is the last time you went to church and they wouldn't let you in unless you paid between $40 and $100 at the door?
If the musician or band decided to do an encore after applause and the seeming end of the concert, how many of these same people would roll their eyes, huff or impatiently look at the clock or their time pieces? At stadiums, sports teams often enough go into serious overtime. After spending a good 2-3 hours watching men hit a ball and run in circles, how many in the stands would get angry that they went another inning or two? Yet, if the pastor takes an extra ten to fifteen minutes, you would think he committed a major offense.
Last time I checked, and that would include this past Sunday, churches have an offering that is received. During this time, a plate is passed around and you could do one of the following: 1) let it pass you by or 2) put in whatever amount you wanted. Can you remember a time you went to a concert or sporting event where all action was stopped and a plate was passed around in which you could either let it pass you or put in whatever you wanted? And yet, the church only cares about money?
How many entertainers do you know who would be content with a pastor's salary? Here are some familiar names of celebrities and their wealth. Now naturally these are top names but the point is not so much the equivalents of today's pastors but the attitudes of people regarding the church they likely attend (or refuse to attend) and the entertainers whose concerts or stadium events they likely attend and how it is okay for those entertainers to roll in the big bucks, charge large amounts of money to see them and yet pastors and churches are the ones that only think about money.
You all have seen the double-standard as I have. This is something that gets to the heart of the matter. The complaints are mere excuses that hide the true heart issues of those who mouth them.
If you have caught yourself with these attitudes, please consider the following verses:
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18 (NIV)
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NKJV)
Though this verse has to do with giving to the needy, it can be applied to giving to God's work through the church as well:
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:2-4 (ESV)
I would love to have your input. Have you seen these attitudes or similar ones? Did you ever think such things and now you think differently? How can we combat such attitudes besides blogging about them?