1. The One Who Knows Everything. Such a heavy burden to bear. Really. If this person is a pastor or staff member, he or she will spend more time tending to menial tasks, answering detail-questions, and “running” the “ministries” of the church than in the studying, preparing, and proclaiming of God’s Word, or in performing the main function to which he or she is assigned.
If this person is a church member, then look out. You don’t want to get too close to him. Because this person is almost always synonymous with the “Church Gossiper.” As soon as he perceives that you’ve not included him on something – anything – you’re the bad guy. And the only way to preserve this status (the one who knows all) is for him to invent half-truths or manipulate the facts in such a way that he can still maintain the illusion of omniscience. I hope this person is not you. It’s just too much to keep up with. It will wear you down. You will find yourself in the middle of every single controversy, or sometimes, at the head of controversy – leading the charge before you really even have a good understanding of the facts. Two phrases will be helpful for you to learn: “I don’t know.” And “You should go ask him/her about that personally.”
“Insight is a fountain of life for its possessor, but folly is the instruction of fools,” – Pr. 16:22.
2. The One Who Is Continually Praised. Church is not about that one person who is part of every committee, singing on the praise team, and teaching 5 Bible Studies per week. It’s about the One person who died for the sins of mankind 2000 years ago. When an individual in the church (any church) is praised more frequently than the One who reconciles man to God, the church has a problem. All praise in the church, even when offered toward an individual, should be directed, or redirected toward God.
There are many people in the church who are very talented. But we have all seen what happens to those individuals who are set up for perfection based on their incredible giftedness… They fall. Just like the rest of us. But when you’re the person who is praised above all else in the church… when you’re the individual around whom the church’s world revolves… when you’re the man or woman who is most highly acclaimed in the fellowship of believers… when you fall, it’s a long way down. And you hurt a lot of people on the descent.
If you’re talented and your church uses you in many functions, remember those gifts belong to the Lord. And when anyone praises you for your work, verbally/audibly deflect that praise to the One who is truly worthy.
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord – you serve the Lord Christ,” – Eph. 3:23.
3. The Leech. They’re in every church. Lurking around under the pews. Staying late after every single service. They’re the first person to catch you after a Bible study or prayer meeting, and they always have something extremely urgent to say. It’s much more important than your family or the other hundreds of sheep in the flock. They need immediate attention. Every. Single. Day. Four phone calls on Monday, an email and five texts on Tuesday, and office visits twice a day for the rest of the week.
They will suck the life right out of you. If you’re wondering if you might be a leech, answer these questions: When you talk to a church member, is the conversation mostly about you or them? Do you have a major problem twice a week, to which only “so-and-so” can attend? Can you describe the personal struggles of your closest friends? In your prayer time, what percentage of breath do you expend on your own problems in comparison to those of your fellow believers? In comparison to the lost?
You know, the ironic thing about these blood-sucking slime-balls (the segmented worms of course, not church-going humans) is that they are never satisfied. If you’re a metaphoric leach, my dear church-going human friend, I hope you know that leech-ism is insatiable. You can’t ever get enough. Some leeches have been known to explode because they suck too much blood (again – worms, not humans, to my knowledge anyway). Leeching off of your fellow church members will not satisfy. Don’t be the church leech.
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Gal. 6:2.
4. The Complainer. Get over it. No, I don’t know what it is. No, I’m not sure when the fighting started or who started it. Yes, I’m aware that the item(s) being tampered with were dedicated in memory of a precious saint 62 ½ years ago. No, I’m not saying you’re “wrong.” But… Get over it. Unless it is a violation of doctrine or a theological discrepancy, it’s not worth the fight. Mention your concern to whomever it is that is in charge of this area, and allow him or her to make the judgment call.
My personal favorite is the collective complainer. The chosen one. Self-appointed from amongst the hypothetical complaint-base of the church netherworld… “Many people have come to me and said…” … “A good number of church members are really concerned about this…” … “I’m just looking out for your best interest, because a few people have brought this to my attention…” … Know what my response is? Without deviation… “Who are they? Let’s call them so we can talk about it.” A few times, I’ve gotten the names of other concerned church members. And those times, complaints have been honorably addressed and matters are resolved quickly in love. But usually, they don’t exist. Usually, it’s him and his wife. Or just him! I’m not sure how Matthew 18:15-20 is unclear. Or maybe we have a better idea of how to handle these situations than Jesus did. Maybe we’ve improved and amended His outdated approach in this area of church life.
Voicing a concern and being “The Complainer” are two different things. Voice your concern where appropriate. But again, if it’s not a violation of doctrine or if there’s no theological discrepancy, after you voice your concern, get over it. The individual you are addressing may not handle it the way you wanted, but that’s not the point. The point is to voice your concern. I hope we will always voice our concerns, one to another. But complaining is different. When ¾ of the words from your mouth are part of a complaint in the church body, or when you find yourself repeatedly being the spokesperson for a group of dissenters, or when your mole-hill concern becomes a personal mountain on which you are prepared to die, put on the nametag – because you’ve earned it: “The Official Church Complainer.”
“Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world,” – Phil. 2:14-15.
5. The Sound Man. Okay, okay I know this doesn’t’ exactly follow the theme. But the sound man always gets a hard time. People aren’t really lining up to be the sound man in church. One little squeal and the collective death-stare of antipathy is aimed and immediately fired in your direction. It’s such a high-impact, stressful job… you wouldn’t believe it. If you get your feelings hurt easily, or if you give up when you feel over loaded, or if you have a problem saying the phrase, “No, we can’t do that,” then DON’T sign up to be the sound man. You can’t handle it.
Love on your sound man. He is an indispensible part of your church, and he rarely is recognized. Except, of course, when something goes wrong. If you didn’t notice anything about the sound in service this week, then he did a great job. Tell him.
No scripture for this one. It came straight from the book of 2 Opinions. New International Wolfe Version.
DISCLAIMER: I hope we can take all of this in good fun. If we can’t laugh about our personal flaws, we’re in bad shape. Everyone in the church has character flaws. EVERYONE. And many of us find ourselves performing these not-so glorious roles in the body from time to time. We need to work hard, against our fleshly nature, to be a people of love who promote peace and unity within the church body. I’ll keep working on me. You keep working on you. And together, even through our weaknesses, He will be made strong.
FUN WITH THE OBVIOUS: On the rare occasion, some extremely blessed churches have the great privilege of only one person who fills all of these 5 roles well. In these instances, you have… A penetratingly inquisitive, indispensable, blood-sucking nitpicker who takes out his frustrations by making the Music Minister sound like a mouse, the piano reverb as if in a barrel, and the preacher cut his sermon 25 minutes short because of “technical difficulties” with the microphones. What a blessing. 🙂
Grace and Peace,