Being too “nice” can hurt your church’s mission, by Paul Nickerson
Somehow we in the church seemed to equate being a Christian with always being “nice”. Now there is nothing wrong with being pleasant and I am sure most people in your church are wonderful people.
The problem arises when someone doesn’t behave “nicely” and starts to act out. Particularly if we are changing something in the church or new people are starting to join us, there is often folk I will call “Uncle Ferdinand” and “Aunt Millie” (mythical names and I hope I don’t offend anyone who actually has that name!)
There can be a handful of people who refuse to change and as changes happen, they start to “threaten” the church:
“I am going to withhold my pledge.”
“I will stop coming to worship.”
“I will leave the church.”
It’s the reaction to such threats, that our “niceness” sometimes gets in the way. We somehow think we have to tolerate such behavior or endlessly try to talk people out of such threats. The longer we allow such behavior to go on, the worse it will get.
Healthy churches and leaders make it clear that such threats have to stop or the person has to leave. We follow the Biblical model (Matthew 18) and do not allow people to threaten the church. Anyone who wants to hold the church hostage must meet a united front of healthy leaders saying “no”. Otherwise the Body of Christ is injured. Christian leaders don’t focus on “nice” but on what keeps a church fulfilling its ministry and mission.