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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I see I’m late to the party, but still hoping someone might respond.
Got a similar note recently. One option is to ignore it, but the sender leads a Bible study in our small community (unaffiliated with any of the local churches) and has influenced some members to leave our church because of charges such as shallow sermons, fear of government authorities and a failure to teach the rapture.
Elders decided to invite the person to address the concerns in person, but the invitation has not yet been extended. The bigger concern is the negative influence on others in the church. One couple who has been part of this church for some 20 years has recently left because of the accusations made by the complainer.
We’re struggling with whether to ignore it or to respond in an effort to protect others in the church, who also attend the Bible study this person leads. Any thoughts?
Ignorance is free. That’s why many people have it.
After MUCH deliberation you decided not to investigate? I’m hoping for some sarcasm here…
Background- I’m using Jonathan Leeman’s “How the Nations Rage” as a resource for our Fall series on politics…
Here’s a text I received last week:
“ John, I want you to know that you have been very good to us and we appreciate your friendship both you and Anne and your son. We have prayed and done considerable research on Jonathan Leeman including a relatively short video, that the 2nd half includes considerable information about identity politics, that I will include with this message. It is [removed] and I’s conviction that we will not be influenced by or align ourselves with any of his or Matt Chandler’s teachings or principles and we will therefore be attending another Church. I am happy to discuss these things in person after you have reviewed the information I will send you. We feel Identity politics are a Marxist movement who’s influence is inappropriate in the teaching of the Gospel. Our prayers are always with you.”
It might not be a righteous wish, but I kind of hope that the person who wrote the letter finds out that it was used as an example of the ridiculous things pastors put up with.
I’m still trying to find the passage that speaks of God’s calling an individual to the ministry of filing “formal” complaints with a person or group that has no authority over the matter. While looking for it, I may just as well find out how I can apply for such a position. It sounds like a pretty easy job.
You will probably find that passage when you find the one that says canceling Sunday night services is against the Bible.
I don’t know if this is the proper response, but the further into the letter I read, the bigger my grin got.
If I was Pastor Bill, I would not pursue this person.
This is pretty much what I’m hearing weekly.
Whether it’s today, 10 years ago, or 10 years from now there will always be those who want to tell everyone what they are doing wrong and how it should be done. The problem is they will never show anyone how it’s supposed to be done, because that would require them actually having to do more than work their mouth and show how little they know.
This is so heart breaking. The poor woman is missing the point of Christ and His bride! I hope the pastor never saw this letter.
There are times in which I don’t know to laugh or cry. I chose to laugh at this one. Thanks for feeling our pain, the encouragement, and the much needed laugh.
You who are on the front lines deserve a time to smile and laugh, Bobby.
There are some strange things during this “era”, but this letter could’ve been written five or ten years ago, and probably was, with a different name, different church, and different pastor.
Thanks for giving us something to smile about! 🙂