How do ministers, pastors, lay preachers handle a hostile congregant after a sermon?

PilgrimsProgress

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Most of the time I get compliments on my sermons - but, last Sunday, a "born again" Pentecostal Christian was annoyed with my sermon. (Not happy about me saying something critical about Jesus).

How do others who preach handle this tricky situation?

I'll see if I can attach the sermon here......
 

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Mrs.Anteater

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I am not a minister. But I think that it could be an opportunity for a broader discussion? Invite to a one on one meeting or better a small group ( bible study group?) to talk about if “ Jesus could ever have been unkind”.
It could also be the theme for the next sermon.
Besides, Jesus wasn’t unkind, the person who wrote this passage of the bible expressed his understanding this way.
Or do we really think that someone taped the event and copied his answer word by word hundert years later.
 

Nancy

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I use my position as LLWL to full advantage, explaining that I am not as learned as ministers. I then say that I will study that further, thank you for your ideas, and isn't it wonderful that God provides us so many thoughts and ways to communicate, adding to our relationships and communication? I have preached some difficult sermons that broach on U.S. politics, knowing that there were people who don't hold my political views sitting in the congregations. I never want to hurt feelings, so I have been very careful about how I word things, yet try to be true to my reading of scripture compared to world events. If I hurt feelings, a door gets closed. So I try to ignite thinking and feeling in a way that opens doors to faith and good works. I also often admit that I am sharing some of my own experiences and ideas...everyone is free to disagree, or re-interpret, but the sharing is the spark that might help get things started.

Sorry that you went through this Pilgrim. Pray for that person to come to some understanding of the intent of your message. I read it and it provides important life lessons.
 
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Seeler

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Pilgrim, I loved your sermon. I certainly wouldn't complain about it, but I know people who might. Fortunately I have never had that experience face-to-face.

As an LLWL, I feel that sometimes I am in a privileged position. People know I am there only temporarily and they cut me some slack, and I usually try to follow the minister's way of doing things is much as possible while being true to my beliefs. In other words, I am careful not to rock the boat to much. That is, I was until recently. As I'm coming back in the retirement, it seems more important that I really get my message across. STILL I find people at the door are polite. Some give an enthusiastic I enjoyed your message. A few follow up with some remarks that help me to know that they understood what I was saying and empathize with it. And if you simply stick to good morning while shaking my hand and hurry on their way. Some of these may simply be people of few words, but some may have disagreed but don't want to argue. Perhaps they let their minister or the chair of the board know that they weren't too impressed and I hope that I never asked back. If that happens I don't hear about it.

I usually stay for a while after the service and join in the fellowship time. There I again I often gets positive feedback, and dress a bit of discussion where I may send someone disagrees to some extent but they are always polite about it.

I am thin-skinned. I would be easily hurt by criticism, although I know that I should welcome it if it gives me a chance to grow and learn. I don't know what I would do if someone really challenged me with harsh criticism. I hope I wouldn't get defensive or argumentative.
 

unsafe

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Just my view

The story of Mary and Martha is all about who are you serving -----what is more important in your life -----Jesus is human here but he is God also -so God is sitting in Martha's and Mary's home -----so who is more important to serve God or serving this world -----Jesus could have manifested a meal in seconds if He wanted to ------Here is what I see in your sermon about your portrayal of Jesus with your comment ----

Your comment is ----And what do you think of the way in which the human Jesus rebuked Martha? I think Jesus was a little unkind, don’t you?
We don’t know how this particular story ended, but perhaps Jesus later regretted his criticism of Martha – and offered to help with the washing up?

So your portraying Jesus as a flawed human being with your statements and Jesus was not Flawed ---Jesus was the only perfect human who walked the earth ------so for a Born Again Christ-ian it is making false claims against the only Perfect humans that walked the earth ------this could be why the person was upset ?????????---------

You give your answer on how to handle criticism yourself in your sermon ---------your quote here below -----

So next time you feel hurt or angry in response to what someone has said or done to you, stop and think, before you retaliate. Think about THAT person – think about what’s going on in their lives that may have contributed to their behaviour.


Nice Sermon for the audience you speak to by the way ------- :angel:
 

Mendalla

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Seems harmless enough to me. Nice piece on empathy and its importance. I suspect the important phrase here is:

"born again" Pentecostal Christian
That likely means a very different understanding of who Jesus was than you have. Understanding that perspective might give a bit of empathy for them, I hope. I'd try to make it a moment for dialogue and show some respect for their point of view. Not an "I'm right, you're wrong" situation but a "we see this differently, let's talk about it" one.

That said, it is not a situation I've ever been in. Even the sermon I preached after the 1988 debate on gay ordination, which was not about the issue itself but about going forward in Love as Christians in the aftermath, was fairly well received and I think that's as close as I've come to being controversial.
 

BetteTheRed

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I've had the odd problem with a new person coming to our Progressive Christianity group and not understanding the diversity of beliefs among the group, and expecting a standard "Christian" response to any questions. Usually this person comes originally from a more orthodox denomination, and although we try not to upset them, they often leave, after a couple of evenings, often quite perturbed. Others, like my dear Jack, come to the group, get all of their orthodox ideas challenged, stay happily while complaining, bitterly, of how a certain group leader destroyed his 'easy' faith, lol...
 

PilgrimsProgress

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But I think that it could be an opportunity for a broader discussion? Invite to a one on one meeting or better a small group ( bible study group?) to talk about if “ Jesus could ever have been unkind”.
It would make a good discussion topic........ So far I've noticed that folks have very decided opinions one way or the other.

Do we have to view the human Jesus as perfect at all times - or is to err and learn a feature of being human? (I thought Jesus showed that he was capable of learning when he accepted the criticism of the woman about "even the dogs eat from the crumbs that fall from the master's table").
 

PilgrimsProgress

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I use my position as LLWL to full advantage, explaining that I am not as learned as ministers. I then say that I will study that further, thank you for your ideas, and isn't it wonderful that God provides us so many thoughts and ways to communicate, adding to our relationships and communication?
Well done! I've a feeling this reply will come in handy. (Not backing down, but not being offensive, either!
 

PilgrimsProgress

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Pilgrim, I loved your sermon. I certainly wouldn't complain about it, but I know people who might. Fortunately I have never had that experience face-to-face.
Thank you, Seeler.....
Perhaps this highlights a difference between Aussie and Canadian congregations? Our heritage relates to convict colonialism - and many were Irish political prisoners - so we do tend to speak our minds freely. (Politeness is often on the back-burner!)
Being a mission church, most are more interested in practical theology (praxis) than interpreting scripture. They want smiles, hugs and to be listened to. This particular woman has told me previously that she did the same lay preachers course as I am -but left because the tutors were too progressive.
Polarization is endemic - not least of all in Christianity it seems.......
 

Mrs.Anteater

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Just my view

The story of Mary and Martha is all about who are you serving -----what is more important in your life -----Jesus is human here but he is God also -so God is sitting in Martha's and Mary's home -----so who is more important to serve God or serving this world -----Jesus could have manifested a meal in seconds if He wanted to ------Here is what I see in your sermon about your portrayal of Jesus with your comment ----

Your comment is ----And what do you think of the way in which the human Jesus rebuked Martha? I think Jesus was a little unkind, don’t you?
We don’t know how this particular story ended, but perhaps Jesus later regretted his criticism of Martha – and offered to help with the washing up?

So your portraying Jesus as a flawed human being with your statements and Jesus was not Flawed ---Jesus was the only perfect human who walked the earth ------so for a Born Again Christ-ian it is making false claims against the only Perfect humans that walked the earth ------this could be why the person was upset ?????????---------

You give your answer on how to handle criticism yourself in your sermon ---------your quote here below -----

So next time you feel hurt or angry in response to what someone has said or done to you, stop and think, before you retaliate. Think about THAT person – think about what’s going on in their lives that may have contributed to their behaviour.


Nice Sermon for the audience you speak to by the way ------- :angel:
I don’t see where PP “ retaliates”. Putting the question out there how others deal with such incidences seems very sensible to me.
 

BetteTheRed

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Our heritage relates to convict colonialism - and many were Irish political prisoners - so we do tend to speak our minds freely. (Politeness is often on the back-burner!)
You've been to Newfoundland, yes? There's a very similar sort of sensibility, to my mind.
 

BetteTheRed

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I don’t see where PP “ retaliates”. Putting the question out there how others deal with such incidences seems very sensible to me.
Yes, but we're working from a completely different set of prior assumptions than @unsafe. If your baseline is that "Jesus = God", you've just got really different lens on.
 

PilgrimsProgress

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So your portraying Jesus as a flawed human being with your statements and Jesus was not Flawed ---Jesus was the only perfect human who walked the earth ------so for a Born Again Christ-ian it is making false claims against the only Perfect humans that walked the earth ------this could be why the person was upset ?????????---------

You give your answer on how to handle criticism yourself in your sermon ---------your quote here below -----

So next time you feel hurt or angry in response to what someone has said or done to you, stop and think, before you retaliate. Think about THAT person – think about what’s going on in their lives that may have contributed to their behaviour.


Nice Sermon for the audience you speak to by the way ------- :angel:
Thank you, unsafe......
Whilst I see my faith through a different lens to you, I'm pleased you weren't hostile in your comments.
(It bugs me that there are some folks - both traditional and progressive - who get so irate. If you think you're correct, why is it so necessary to go on the attack?)
I mumbled something about how we see our faith differently -hoping to pacify and the response was delivered in a loud voice with blazing eyes, "I'm telling you, you're wrong!" I replied, somewhat shocked, "You don't "tell" me anything.

A good observation - my therapist has also said to me, "You should read your own sermons more"!
 

Luce NDs

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Imagine a crack in the BS causing the bell ringer to plough on regardless ... bottomland earth syndrome ... ferme?

The constitution does not like constant turnover ... yet mysterious forces give us a plate of tectonics ... earth shaken ... and Ole Rivers Just passed with that Mule called Midnight ... could be the essence of Timaeus!
 

Seeler

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Pilgrim, I hope you're feeling more relaxed now that you have had more time to put this unpleasant incident behind you.
Are you leading worship at the same place this weekend? If so do you think that same individual will be there? And will it bother you?
Don't change, unless you feel called to change. Don't do it just to try to please somebody else. Continue to speak your truth.
I will be thinking about you.
 

chansen

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I mumbled something about how we see our faith differently -hoping to pacify and the response was delivered in a loud voice with blazing eyes, "I'm telling you, you're wrong!" I replied, somewhat shocked, "You don't "tell" me anything.
Okay, now you definitely have to forward her complaints to me. That would be so much fun.
 
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