In yesterday’s post, where Thom Rainer reflected on how he could have been a better pastor, point number 3 caught my attention.  It is counter to what most writers will say, but right in step with what I’ve been writing for some time.

In a post from 2008, called Complainers Care, I quoted marketing expert Seth Goodin, who says that customers who complain are usually well-meaning people with a desire to help, to make things better than they are.  He suggests that some been ignored for so long they’ve gotten used to shouting, but that we need to try to listen to HEAR their concerns and look for truth underneath the complaint, and find a way to address at least some of their observation.

This is counter to what Gene Wood advises in his book Leading Turnaround Churches.  Pastor Wood says that some people just like to complain and when you hear of someone who’s been vocal before you came and is still vocal about what’s not being done, then most likely the person was simply out to control the church, and needs to be asked to leave.

What Thom Rainer said was that the good pastor will look past the complaint to hear the person, to address the hurt that is prompting the outburst, and to help them heal.