The Seven Ways That Being Nice Hurts Your Church
Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Don’t judge me too quickly on the content of this article.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen it again and again. Church leaders and members sacrifice the health and good of the church for fear of hurting one or a few persons. The body is sacrificed for the sake of a few members.

We think we are being nice, but we are hurting the church.

See if you can identify with one or more of these seven “nice” issues:

1. We don’t make a needed personnel decision. “It not the Christian thing to do,” we often rationalize. But most people know we need to make the change. We are just too nice to do so.

2. We are unwilling to confront sin. “Who am I to judge that person?” we often ask. That’s the “nice” rationale. But if that church member is living in open and flagrant sin, we are failing our biblical duty.

3. We won’t eliminate a weak program or ministry. The ministry or program has outlived its effectiveness, but we don’t want to offend the few persons who have sentimental attachment to it.

4. We are unwilling to make tough decisions on facilities. The parlor is hardly used at all, and the church needs the space for growing ministries. But we are unwilling to tell the keepers of the parlor we need “their” space. It just wouldn’t be the nice thing to do.

5. We compromise the Word of God. Yes, some church leaders do just that because they don’t want to seem narrow or exclusive. But the gospel is narrow and exclusive. We think telling someone they are “okay” without Christ is just being nice. But it’s like telling them they can go to Hell.

6. We let volunteers continue in positions where they should not. One clear example is the man who was lacking in social skills, yet was out front serving on the welcome team. Despite many attempts to help him or work around him, he kept offending guests. But no one asked him to step down. It just wouldn’t be nice.

7. We make bad financial choices. Many of these issues could impact the financial wellbeing of a church. For example, one church refused to eliminate the fulltime student minister position, despite the fact that attendance was down to 45 senior adults. The church ran out of money and had to close.

Sometimes we are so nice we are hurting our churches.

But perhaps the real issue is lack of courage to make the tough decisions.


This article was originally published at on November 13. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at

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