I love when people preface a conversation with this statement. To me if you say that you “heard a complaint” without saying who from or what people group you are hiding something. More than likely you mean “I have a problem but I am not willing to admit to your face that it is coming from me”.
A complaint is a complaint. We all deal with complainers in the ministry, it is unavoidable. What we can contro is how to respond to the complainers. I suggest never catering to complainers but you cannot just brush off what you are hearing. Here is what I suggest
- Take the complant in context. Where is this complaint REALLY coming from? Is it an issue that you can control or is it out of your hands? A good example of this is if your attendance is growing and a parent complains that their kid doesn’t want to come to youth group because it is boring . If other kids want to be there then why does this one kid not want to come? It could be a social situation but it could be a personal one or just simple laziness. You do not necessarily have the ability to fix it and you no matter how you change your format you are not going to win over that kid.
- Take the complainer in context. Is the person someone who is dedicated to making things better or are they a seldish person who things the world revolves around them? Some people complain just to complain. I have had, through the years, many senior adults complain about our youth program. Problem was they had never attended any youth related activity during my tenure. Their complaint was based on assumptions and second hand knowledge. These people will never be happy and trying to make them happy winds up in pointles exercises.
- Examine yourself. Is the compalint coming from one person or on a larger scale? In my current position I was faced with an issue about lack of communication. I took issue with this because I was trying to communicate. What I had to realize was that the forms of communication I had implementend were not working and I needed to go in another direction. The key here is you must look at the situation as a whole identify the problem and come with a solution on your own. Everyone and their uncle will tell you how to fix a problem but if you always follow other people’s solutions you will be changing things all the time and confusing yourself in the process. You need to come up with what solves the problem AND what works for you. If it is more than you can handle it will blow up in your face.
Again you will never get rid of complainers but there is a rpocess to go through. Don’t let things snowball before you address an issue. If you want to achieve longevity ou must be on your toes and react quickly and efficiently.