From the archives of Will Mancini’s blog:
1. “But my old church…” This usually means they want your church to be like their old church.
2. “I just need time to be fed.” This means, “I don’t want to do anything. I’m here just to sit and see what I can get out of this church, so don’t expect me to serve in any way, shape, or form.
3. “I’m looking for a church that teaches the Word.” This means, “I’m looking for a church that dispenses lots of information without challenging me to do anything.”
4. “We came here because we are looking for deep teaching.” This usually means their last church focused too much on actually obeying the Word. They want a church that just talks about the Rapture, the Second Coming, who the Hittites were and the identity of Theophilus.
5. “I should know my pastor.” This means, “In my last church, I got to know the pastor, but when the church grew, and the pastor couldn’t have dinner with us every Tuesday night, I left and came here.”
6. “We want a church that’s focused on discipling people.” This means, “I want a church that’s focused on me, not people who are lost.”
7. “I wish you wouldn’t focus so much on what people need to do.” This means they don’t like commitment, they don’t like to be told the Bible actually tells them how to live and follow Jesus. They want to come to church, live in their sin and have no one tell them this is wrong.
8. “I wish you wouldn’t talk about money.” This is the best way to tell a pastor “I don’t give.”
9. “My old church/pastor was…” The way people come to your church is how they will leave. If your first conversation with them is all about their last church and pastor, that is how they will leave your church and how they will go to their next church.
10. “Pastor, I’ve been talking to a lot of people and they all say…” Translation: “Me, my spouse and my mother think…” If they start this way, 99.9% of the time they have no one else who thinks this way, it is just the best way to complain. If someone has a complaint and uses this line with me, they need to list all of the names or my best assumption is they talked to the same person 10 times.