“People have been complaining about the following things.” A church member recently sent me an email listing all the bad things people are allegedly saying about our church. I usually ignore emails like these because the writers typically present their own opinions as things other people are saying. But I felt like this wasn’t true in this case and decided to take action.
One complaint he mentioned concerns our policy of not allowing members of other churches to join our church. He wrote that people complain about our favoritism in allowing only certain people to join.
It is true that we do not allow members of other churches to join us, but we have to make some exceptions. For a time, we accepted people who left their former church if they visited different churches for 4 consecutive weeks and brought 4 Sunday bulletins as proof. Our hope was that this policy would help other churches in Houston by giving them an opportunity to absorb such people. In practice, many people came back to our church after visiting 4 other churches, which hurt the feelings of the members and pastors of those churches. So we scrapped that policy and decided to not accept anyone at all.
However, this cannot be made an iron-clad rule. We have allowed people to join our church if they were recommended by their former churches or if they were unbelievers who not been to church for at least 2 years. Exceptions like these may look like favoritism. So we will make change in our policy. Until now, I have made all decisions in regards to membership, but from now on the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Deacons will make decisions jointly with me. When any one of us objects to a person’s request to be a part of our church, they will be rejected even if they fulfill the previously allowed conditions.
Another complaint he wrote about was that some people who give their personal testimonies are not really faithful in their Christian walks. These complaints come from people who did business with them. They claim that they did not receive money they were owed or that they received unfair business deals. Even if these complaints are true, we have to remember that the people giving their testimonies are not telling people how good they are themselves but how great God is. If we only allowed people who are morally perfect to give their testimonies, there would be no one left to testify. Furthermore, complaints like these are frequently unjustified even on their own merits.
But to be sensitive to people with these types of grudges, I will ask Bible study leaders to refrain from asking people who have lived in Houston a long time and done business with other Korean-Americans from giving their testimony, since they have a higher chance of being involved in such cases. But we will never hesitate to ask anyone to give their testimony if they have a great story to tell.
Another complaint is that our deacons are rude and arrogant. This cannot be true, because our deacons are recommended by their fellow shepherds as examples of sacrificial service. People might get the wrong impression because of the duties they fulfill. Deacons must play the role of an enforcer of church regulations, and sometimes they must say no to those who ask for something contrary to our church rules. To mitigate this, I will ask our deacons to smile when they ask our members to follow regulations or when they decline requests that are against our rules.
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