I have a saying with our staff team: 95% of church problems have nothing to do with the church.
Think about it. What if:
- 95% of the problems in your church have nothing to do with your church?
- 95% of the problems in your business have nothing to do with your business?
- 95% of the problems with a group you’re involved with have nothing to do with the group?
And so on…
Don’t get me wrong, we have church problems. And businesses and groups have business and group problems. And please understand the number isn’t scientific. But the pattern is quite clear.
What poses as the problem often isn’t the problem.
Example: someone tells you they’re leaving your church because they feel so disconnected. You may indeed have a connection problem in your church. But sometimes you really just don’t.
Probe a little deeper. Often here’s what I find if I do. The person leaving has other issues. Their life story is they feel disconnected. Or their marriage is struggling. Or they are about to lose their job.
What presented as a ‘church problem’ isn’t really a church problem.
Spend a bit of time with them or, typically in our case, get a small group leader to spend some time with them. Pray with them. Listen, understand. Journey with them. And you might just discover that the ‘problem’ goes away.
So,when people present with a ‘problem’, get into the habit of asking yourself if it’s really the problem. And start considering angles like this:
People who complain that the church talks about money too much often have financial issues (debt or greed).
People who complain that they feel undervalued might just be insecure.
People who can’t get along in their group might have big family issues they’re dealing with.
That doesn’t give you an excuse to write them off. Instead, it gives you an opportunity to see if they need help dealing with the actual issues their facing. Sometimes that help can be life-changing.
And coincidentally, helping them walk through that problem often resolves the ‘church’ problem or ‘business’ problem or ‘organization’ problem.
Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of church problems I need to fix. But often what presents as a church problem isn’t a church problem. It’s a people problem. Help people and the problem disappears.
What’s your experience in this area?