7 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

If you are in church ministry you have no doubt had to deal with difficult people in your church.

deal with difficult people

If you are in church ministry you have no doubt had to deal with difficult people in your church.

If you are not active in the local church (which is a small part of my blog readership), please allow me to apologize in advance for this post. It’s really written to those inside the church – especially pastors. Please know it’s not at all representative of everyone in the church. In fact, it’s usually a very small minority of people. Thankfully.

That disclaimer out of the way, one of the more frustrating things about being a pastor is people who are difficult to deal with, usually because they are negative about everything. Thankfully, I deal with this less often the longer I am with the church.

When I was in church planting our complaints usually came from outside our church. Other churches didn’t like our methods or what they assumed we were doing. (They were usually not correct in many of their assumptions.) In the established church, difficulty in dealing with people comes from inside the church. Again, thankfully, often from a few people.

Either way, dealing with difficult people has been a huge part of my work. I talk with pastors every week who tell me they have people who are always negative about something they are doing.

I have learned when change comes the complainers will rise – often among the most seemingly “religious” of people. And when these type people talk their negative energy spreads fast.

Of course, there are also people who are difficult even when nothing is changing. How do we, as pastors, deal with difficult people in the church?

7 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

1. Love everyone.

There is a long story in my personal journey about this one, but God has convicted me continually that my first calling is to love Him, so I can adequately love others. It’s the work of grace taught throughout the Scriptures.

You don’t have to love everything about your church’s structure, or even the actions of everyone in your church. But you have to love everyone. In fact, if you can’t love the people who are most difficult to love, I contend you’ll have a hard time pastoring the church effectively.

Find the most difficult person you know and let them be your standard. Are you loving them? Could you pray for them?

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Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.