One Weird Letter as an Example of What Pastors Have to Endure (Particularly in a COVID Era)

I received an email through Church Answers a couple of years ago. A team member sent it to me because she thought it would lighten my day. It was a bit strange after all.

I decided to hold the email for a while and choose a good time to share it with our readers. Our team has noted that the COVID era is a period when all the complaints pastors get seem to be coming at once.

Well, this letter epitomizes this era. I changed some of the verbiage that would identify the writer, the church, and the pastor. Note that the writer is not a member of the church. She decided to do her own investigation based on the complaints of others. She further insisted that Church Answers do its own investigation of this pastor.

The Weird Letter

Hello. My name is Betty and I am writing you a formal complaint against Bill Jones who is the pastor at Community Church in Gravetown.  I had heard numerous complaints about his so-called preaching and I decided to make a couple of visits to the church. 

In my opinion, he shouldn’t even be a pastor, let alone be the pastor at any church. Here are my reasons why. I think your organization should take time to investigate this matter. 

First of all, he calls the church site a campus, and he does not refer to it as the house of God. Secondly, he only reads one Bible verse, and the rest of the time he is either talking about sports and how teams played or not played, or he is talking about his children. 

Then it’s all about politics. He said abortion was a sin. I thought the church and government were separated. 

Then, there are also these two reasons for him to be removed as a pastor. First, he has actually canceled a Sunday evening service, and we know that’s against the Bible. Second is how he allows the people to dress. After all, this is the house of God and it should be respected and honored in God’s name, not wearing clothes that show too much or shorts. 

Then there are the iPhones used instead of the real Bible. All this he allows, which shows he truly doesn’t respect God or the house of God himself. 

I hope you take the time to check all this out for yourself and not just take my word for it, because he has been known to lie to members, saying he would do something then come up with an excuse. He will stand up in the pulpit not dressed as a pastor but in regular clothes. 

He also talks about money. They wouldn’t need money if the church had not remodeled their gym as a community center. The church is not supposed to be for outsiders. I thought this was a church and not a community center. I thought Bill Jones was a pastor, but he’s not. Thank you for your time, but I won’t be back to that church with that so-called pastor.

Please send me a copy of your investigation report. Thank you for your time.

Our Team’s Response

After much deliberation, our team decided not to investigate nor respond to the letter.

Posted on September 21, 2020

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Jaye Martin says on

    Weird letter: priceless!
    Response: priceless!!!!!!!!!

    PS… priceless on sooooo many levels!


  • Oh dear. Scandalous. Simply scandalous. I am intrigued by her referring to the community as “outsiders.”
    Also, “He will stand up in the pulpit not dressed as a pastor but in regular clothes. ” She would find me to be the worst kind of heretic. These days I usually preach in blue jeans and a button down shirt with no tie. I know, Thom, you are shaking your head in disbelieve – please don’t investigate me!
    Thanks for sharing the letter.

  • Betty’s comment that “church is not supposed to be for outsiders” is a sad yet terrifying mindset that has gained a foothold in many churches, and shows no signs of relinquishing its grip on those who share Betty’s sentiment.
    This is yet another reminder of why, if I were to ever pastor again I would most likely have the smallest congregation in town. I would simply refuse to pander to such un Christ-like nonsense.

  • “Bill Jones” is a very blessed pastor to NOT have “Betty” in his congregation!

  • Thomas Stephen Burris says on

    After fifty years in the ministry, NOTHING surprises me anymore. If you plan another book, I think a best-seller would be “A Collection of Absurd Letters Pastors have Actually Received”. Unfortunately, when I retired they all went into the shredder! Sigh, what a loss.

  • Dan Czaplewski says on

    This woman needs to repent. Her eternal destiny depends on it.

  • Frank Clark says on

    That letter speaks volumes about that woman’s spiritual condition and it is really sad. I will pray for her. No pastor is perfect. The church must reach out to lead folks to Jesus. Those folks will deal with dress issues as the Lord leads them by His Holy Spirit. It is His job to convict not ours. Ours is to show love and compassion while discipline them.

  • Robin G Jordan says on

    If I would have ignored the letter too. She is not a member or regular attendee of the church in question. The complaints that she may have been listening to may be those of just one person. Church Answers is not a judicatory and has no authority to investigate complaints that may be lodged against the pastor of a church. Depending upon the type of church polity of a judicatory, it would have its own procedures and policies for investigating allegations of wrongdoing by a pastor. I am familiar with the various categories of alleged wrongdoings that may lead to an inquiry and her complaints fall into none of them. Her complaints do not warrant even a referral to the appropriate judicatorial body.

  • The letter reads somewhat like going down an ice-covered highway at 75 mph with your cruise control on. Sadly, I have seen more than a few of these throughout my church leadership days. I will give this writer credit, though, it is probably the most comprehensive letter I have seen.

    I have to ask, how long of a discussion did it take to come to the conclusion you weren’t going to take any action?

  • Roy Wahlgren says on

    I’m sure that many of your readers hope that this person does not intend to become a part of their church!

  • Over the past several months, I’ve gained a new appreciation for what the Bible says about “busybodies”. This pandemic seems to have spawned an awful lot of them. Your response was a wise one. If she’s willing to go to such lengths to involve herself in another church’s business, I can only imagine what her poor pastor endures from her.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      So true.

    • The Church I attend has a come as you are approach to attire as we go to worship the Lord not to a fashion show. Our facilities consist of sanctuary foyer/entrance area, cross walk to Day care facility connected to a large gymnasium which doubles as our community center for dinners fund raisers etc. Our God is Omnipresent.

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