Never Complain About

Jon Acuff, author of Stuff Christians Like (2010) and Quitter (2011), recently blogged about complaining. In that post he shared his past personal experiences of complaining about various aspects of church life, before learning how unhealthy his perspective had become.  In contrast, he suggests a better way for members and active participants to respond to areas of church life they see as less than ideal:

then I learned a pretty powerful truth about church volunteers that forever changed my habit of complaining. Something that I hope you’ll keep in your pocket for the next time someone complains about a ministry or a program or an anything at your church.

Here it is:

Never complain about something at church you’re not willing to volunteer for.

. . . So if you don’t feel like your kid is learning anything in Sunday School, volunteer.

If you wish they did more for single adults at your church, volunteer.

If you hope Vacation Bible School is better than last year, volunteer.

If you wish your church did a better job of welcoming new people, volunteer.


So What?

The church is a volunteer run organization.  While almost all congregations employ a pastor and lay staff, healthy congregations understand the need for those in the congregation to do the work of ministry is both pragmatic and theologically sound.  Church is not a place where one goes to receive religious goods and services, it is a body of which one is a part and to which one contributes.  Christian discipleship must be more than an intellectual exercise.

  • Do you live by Acuff’s suggested rule: “Never complain about something at church you’re not willing to volunteer for?” Why or why not?
  • What is one way you have grown in your faith as the result of volunteering?
  • What percentage of active participants (members and non-members alike) serve as volunteers in your congregation?  How do those in leadership seek to continually increase that number?

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