Friday, March 13, 2009

High Maintenance Believers

We all know high maintenance people.  If you don't know any just sit down and watch an episode of Bridezilla or one of those reality shows about 15 year old girls' parents taking out massive loans to throw their little princess the perfect sweet 16 party.   I don't know about you but I tend to avoid high maintenance people.  

 

Sadly there also exists high maintenance believers.  Christians who appear to be a tad bit spoiled or expect the church to revolve around them.   Basically it boils down to a maturity issue.   I was thinking about this some the past couple of days and here are some of the "HMB" indicators that stood out to me:

 

>Complains that no one in the church cares for them yet they are not involved in a small group or Sunday School class.

>Gripes that no one from the church helped them in their time of need yet when asked when they last did this for someone they come up blank or "I'm sure I have".

>Complain that the pastor's sermons just aren't deep enough for them but they never crack open the Bible themselves for a little self feeding or even attempt to apply what is taught.

>First to cry out when their favorite program is cut or changed.

>Quick to point out ministry needs but never lift a finger to do ministry.

>Take their toys and go home.  Bail out and stay home and pout if something happens or is said that they don't like.

>Think that church is for them.

>Love committees but wouldn't dare join a team, that would require time and sacrifice.

>Quick for the hand out but slow to put their hand out to help

>Want to be served but don't want to serve.

>Favorite line when asked to serve is, "I'm just so busy."

>More concerned about the external than the internal or the eternal.

>Would be offended by this list.

 

Most if not all churches have this type of believer in the congregation.  So what is a church to do?  I have come to the conclusion that we don't have the time to hold a "mature" believer's hand and walk them through life.  Sadly, often in churches, more time is spent on high maintenance believers then time spent trying to make disciples.  I think all a church can do is lay it out, "Here is what we have, and here is what we do."  We can't hold your hand and scratch your every itch at some point you, the believer, must get a grip and take responsibility for your own growth.  Let's say I have a serious Reese’s' Peanut Butter Egg addiction (and I think I do) and the church offers a group for those of us that are RPBE addicts it is my responsibility to get involved in the group.  It is not the staff's job to come to my house, dress me, load me in the car and take me to the group.  It's not the group's responsibility to beg me and plead with me, a member of their church, to get involved.    

Here is the buffet!  It's your choice to dine or not.

For those with the gift of mercy - I'm not making reference to new believers




10 comments:

TerryKM said...

I've been in churches where the pastor thinks it's the job of the staff to take care of those high maintenance people. What a nightmare!!!

TerryKM said...

And of course those churches are pretty much dead and not going anywhere.

Colston said...

Andy,Im sensing a little frustration on your behalf :)
Im a new youth pastor of six months and I am already dealing with people within the church with the same problem.
Another thing Andy is parents who feel that is it my job to make their kid better.
THis is a little different issue than what you posted about. However, they seem to be someone what related issues.
I love these students with all my heart but I cannot change anyone! ALl I can do is present God's Word and encourge them to do what is right. I can be there for them however, I have already found that when I spend alot of one on one time with someone I am cheating the whole...
So I guess my question to you is where is the balance?
How do I handle parents who think I have failed and that its because I havent spent enough time with them that their child is so messed up.
How do I balance trying to help students one on one and yet not cheat other students. I cannot spend one on one time with all of them. We dont have a large ministry however its too big to spend time with everyone.
Where is the balance?

Andy Lawrenson said...

I'm not frustrated. I'm just thinking. I'm on sabbatical right now so I'm resting and taking a break. I'm part of a church that is awesome and doing great.

Just thinking about church stuff while sabbaticaling.

Barb said...

Applause, applause, and standing ovation, Andy.

And Colston's questions remind me of parents who expect the schools & teachers to "fix my kid," then undermines the teacher's authority, rendering them powerless. arrrgggghhhh!

(I'm not a teacher, just a parent who worked at fixing my own kids.)

Andy Lawrenson said...

@Colston - I'll address your question in another post next week.

I also would like to add that high maintenance believers (HMB's) probably wouldn't stick around NHC too long. We don't tend to scratch the itch or grease the squeaky wheel.

"It's not about me" is one of our mottos and that doesn't sit well with an HMB.

Rick Lawrenson said...

We've had them - they always come to us from other churches and they are never new converts - and you're right, they eventually leave and find a church where they can continue their consumer lifestyle.

The churches that cater to consumers rather than teaching disciples to be contributors don't grow. They don't reach out because their always looking within.

We just don't have the time nor can we spend the energy coddling the spoiled.

Bonnie said...

I wonder if Peter was considered high maintaince?

Susan said...

I want to know what people who try to join in and get ignored and insulted by the pastors are supposed to do. I've being going to the same church for 13 years and now we have new pastors who don't seem to care about all the people in the church.

Andy Lawrenson said...

@susan - I would sit down and talk with my pastors and let them know how I feel. I would also do a little self inspection first and make sure my heart is where it should be and that I wasn't reacting in emotions or feelings but under the control of the Holy Spirit.
That's how I would handle it if it were me.

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