10 Things that Frustrate Me as a Minister…

I have always been a glass-half-full type person. I choose to focus on the positives and not the negatives. But someone asked me this week, “Is there anything that frustrates you?” They couldn’t believe there were things that got under my skin. Although I choose not to focus on them … here are a few…
  1. People who talk about having God first in their life, but don’t live like it.
  2. Having to beg people to help with VBS.
  3. Singing songs in church that I don’t understand.
  4. When the clicker for my Powerpoint doesn’t work.
  5. People who are good at finding problems, but never help with the solutions.
  6. The fact that all the deviled eggs are already gone when I go through the line at potlucks.
  7. People who think church attendance will get them to heaven.
  8. People who don’t make church attendance a priority.
  9. “Close-talkers”.
  10. “My way or the highway” type people.

How about you? Is there anything that frustrates you?

(Just so you’ll know I love what I do, here’s “10 Things I LOVE about being a Minister.”)

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Trey Morgan tagged this post with: Read 1182 articles by
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  1. Tim Archer says:

    • People who have been Christians for decades who want to play the “weaker brother” card

    • Same people complaining about “not being fed”; shouldn’t they be old enough to feed themselves?

    • People talking about what they get out of worship instead of talking about what they give

  2. J Prude says:

    I agree with the deviled egg comment-some things are just universal, I guess.

    We have to beg for teachers every quarter, as well as for VBS- “I don’t want to teach my own kids”. Whose responsibility is it to teach your kids?

    I also agree with Tim’s comment about “what they get out of worship”. Where is it written that worship is about me?

    • Trey Morgan says:

      There must be deviled egg hoarders in every church. Why can’t their be beet hoarders? :)

      • Lisa L says:

        I always tell my kids to only take one since they go so fast — last time I told them that, I looked up and the *elder* across the food table from us had 3 on his plate! He had the grace to at least look embarrassed. :)

  3. Suave says:

    Top ten list :)

  4. Duane Scott says:

    hmm… this post sorta frustrates me, to be honest.

    I thought you were perfect.

    Oh well, I will always cherish the original misconception I had of you.

  5. Gilbert Kerrigan says:

    Christians who complain that “our” church isn’t open and honest enough, but don’t see the need to be open and honest about their own life.

    Church league softball teams that don’t act very Jesus-like.

    A theology that says getting Sunday mornings “right” is the highest priority of discipleship.

  6. Greg England says:

    I am mostly frustrated by frustrated preachers! :)

    Now that I am in my third year out of ministry, I just haven’t noticed much at all. I am involved as much as I can be. I try to encourage our preacher. We are engaged in critical ministry almost daily. But being out of church leadership has been a blessing in many respects, while on the other hand I miss a LOT about preaching.

    • jel says:

      has it been 3 years already Greg? where has the time gone.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      I had a friend that was a preacher for years. When he retired he went in as an elder and said in a teasing way, “I can’t WAIT to fire my first preacher.” :)

      We need more Greg’s in our churches. I’m thankful to have some good encouragers, but everyone doesn’t.

  7. Joyce Young says:

    I hear ya Trey. Your church is not the only one it is in. We share the same frustrations. Keep on keeping on Trey! God is good.

  8. Jennifer Muncy says:

    Kind of funny…as far as I can tell…you still rank right up there on my “almost perfect” list…close as you can get…but not Jesus! Hmmm none of use are or ever will be…but Trey, he sure does try, harder than most, I’d say! :) Notice the “things that frustrate but I don’t dwell on them” I think its a great list!

  9. I had to look up “close-talkers.”

    A little over five years ago I left my last full-time, paid ministry position. Not interested in going back. I’ve struggled with a desire to minister and an inability to deal with church politics. I love youth ministry (maybe hard for some who don’t know me well to imagine) but am really interested in community development work. Now there’s a church planting project our church is looking to get started in Ocean County, NJ next year and I don’t know whether that’s for my wife and me or not. We certainly feel drawn to it. I’m mostly concerned about personally being able to deal with the big and small frustrations that come with this sort of work.

    Thanks for your honesty Trey.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Adam, I have a close-talker at church. He’s also a smoker. He’ll melt the hair in your nose with his breath. Ugh. I’ve learned a “close-talker” stance that keeps him out of my comfort zone. HA!

      I appreciate your honesty, Adam. I know ministry, like anything, can be tough at times. I appreciate what you do now with your blog and help with feeding the hungry of the dump.

  10. Larry Tittle says:

    I am frustrated by people who are not frustrated by the same things that frustrate me.

    What if God chose not to be present in our worship services because He wasn’t getting anything out of it?

  11. John says:

    Progressives and Conservatives.

  12. Sylvia says:

    What frustrates me is people pointing fingers at others and saying “they’re not helping” and don’t see that they are in the same group. Or people who try to minister with the glass half empty mentality, forgetting our hope is in Jesus. Or people who complain about the leaders and never step up to be one. Or people who say they want stability and don’t see that THEY ARE the stability. Ahh, thanks for the vent. And no, I don’t dwell on it either. My plate is well balanced without carrying that too.

  13. James says:

    Amen, Trey. My list is strikingly similar.

    A couple from my experience:

    1. Clock Nazis who think worship is a one-hour event (and quote 1 Cor. 14 to “make” their point).

    2. When people think not being a clock Nazi means it’s perfectly fine to be 30 minutes late when they are supposed to be teaching class or leading singing.

    3. When the phrase “God’s going to work it all out” comes to be code for sanctified laziness.

    4. When an event has been talked about, announced to death, on facebook, on twitter, in the bulletin, and tattooed on the deacons’ foreheads and people still say, “I didn’t know we were doing that today.”

    • Trey Morgan says:

      James … never heard of the #1 and the verse to back it up. Too funny (or should I say sad). I hear you on #4.

      • James says:

        Basically, it goes “Decently and in order means an hour, brother.” It’s not the soundest interpretation.

        The best on #4 I’ve seen was when we had a special service for the addition of a couple of new elders. It was announced at the beginning it would be happening, the sermon was on shepherding, and we had all the elders up front with their wives, praying for the new elders and their wives. On the way out, a sister stopped and asked a deacon, “So any word on when are finally going to get those new elders?”

  14. Katie says:

    You really want to know what frustrates me? Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you 😉

  15. jel says:

    ok , what is the next to last one?

    ah and a tip about deviled eggs ,make sure that the red stuff on top of the egg is paprika,and not the OTHER STUFF 😕

  16. Dan Beals says:

    When Christians dont bother to read the word of God and what it has to say for us to live a Holy life.

  17. Maggie Beth says:


    When one comes near me – it is almost as if, they see the fear in my eyes, and take it as an invitation to “COME ON IN!” ~ I have had to ask people, to please step back (as I was pressed against a wall!) Everyone has their own personal space; I call mine, my “purple circle”!! My ‘personal space’ is about the size of a hula hoop!! IF YOU COULD HULA HOOP WITH ME FOLKS!!! ~ BACK IT UP!!!!! (or call me on the cell!)

    AND OOOOOHHHH are you gonna get deviled eggs….you are gonna get tons…..(very, very smooth)….Not sure if this is “Universal” or merely a “here” thing ~ but my G’mother would “dye” the egg-whites (they taste no different)…Every Easter we had pastel colored deviled eggs….they were so pretty ~ I always wondered why she only did it at Easter……

    • Trey Morgan says:

      If two things come from this post from my church, I’m hoping for a few deviled eggs and some help with VBS. You see right through me. Here’s to hoping. :)

  18. Anne says:

    10 things that frustrate minister’s wives
    1. Those who sign up but never show up and leave you scrambling at the last minute to fill their spot.
    2. Teachers who consistently show up 10 minutes late.
    3. Calling at all hours for “dumb” stuff — I need a fork, mom took my phone, etc
    4. The guy or gal who catches your husband after church to go on and on about nothing important and you had planned something right after church.
    5. “why is my life a mess?” quit living in sin with that man/woman!
    6. The ones who breeze in at the planning meetings criticizing all that has been done, has big plans, but never helps fulfill them.
    7. The ones who wait until you go away for a few days to have a “crisis” and seem unable to deal with it themselves.
    8. The “you didn’t visit me when I had outpatient surgery” but they don’t reciprocate.
    9. Your husband running around flipping switches off (even though you’re coming back to the room) “you’re wasting the church’s money!”
    10. The members who leave because they are looking to be served instead of serving.

    **we had a guy here that would make deviled eggs fairly frequently, but when I found a hair in the peaches he put up for us and then I heard about his dogs all over the kitchen I didn’t really care if I didn’t get one!!

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Anne … you sound like a preacher’s wife. :) All those things are pretty typical things that just come with ministry. I’m usually the first to the building and close to the last to leave. I feel your pain, just focus on the many positives. And if I ever come preach at your church please remind me about those eggs. :)

      • Anne says:

        Yep I’m a MW! Hey you didn’t ask 10 things that encourage you, you said frustrate! You don’t have to worry he moved a few years ago. It kind of soured me though on deviled eggs. I now only eat mine or if I know they are from someone I trust. And I’m sure you’ve been to enough potlucks to learn how to subtly ask who cooked what!

  19. Lee Hodo says:

    I’m with you on the close talkers. Especially if they’ve just eaten deviled eggs…

  20. Paula says:

    Gossip! Gossip makes me crazy!

    The VBS situation is here, too. Can’t believe we are having difficulties finding people in our congregations who don’t want to teach children. There is no greater joy (in my opinion, anyway)

    People who treat the church like a country club, think its only the minister’s job to seek and save the lost, or mistreat the preacher’s family.

    I’ll stop there. Thankfully, for all of us there are more positives than negatives :)

    • Trey Morgan says:

      A good VBS takes more effort than anything else we do though out the year. It is one of our best outreach programs. We OUGHT to be having so many people sign up that we’re telling people, “Sorry, we’re full.”

  21. ~Brenda says:

    It frustrates me when Christians are dumbfounded when other Christians are struggling. They don’t know what to say, think, or do when you’ve been battling disease for a decade (and you’re young).

    A simple “I’ll be praying for you” would suffice.

    Or … when they look at divorced people like something from outerspace. These people are struggling, hurting people. They don’t need to be shunned. Unfortunately, it’s taboo. Ridiculous.

    Ok, off my soap box. But hey …. you asked. 😀

  22. Things that frustrate me:

    1) Me

    2) people who think the pastor/preacher and his family should be more perfect than Jesus

    3) People who bring deviled eggs to a church potluck. They have the word ‘devil’ in them. That should give you a hint as to how bad they are!

    4) People who make a fantastic, to-die-for dish that everyone loves and looks forward to and then don’t bring it to the pot-luck one time. Have some consideration, people, some of us live just to eat your chocolate/whipped-cream-delight at church potlucks.

    5) When teaching in the church moves on so quickly from week to week that we don’t have time to learn and apply what we learn one week before we’re supposed to learn something new the next week.

    6) People who can sing well and play the guitar at the same time – with their eyes closed, totally given over to worshiping God. I’m just saying…

    7) Deviled eggs (did I mention that already?)

  23. Katherine says:

    When people are more concerned about doing church than BEING the Church.

    When people who claim to love Jesus, but can’t seem to love each other.

    When people attempt to place God in a tiny box and want to limit how He works and who He saves.

    And probably most of all…myself when I am not doing all I am “preaching” and feel like a hypocrite (which is quite often!)

    You rock, Trey!!

    Your next post should be on 10 things that are a blessing in ministry :)

  24. Jeanne M. says:

    My husband and I could agree on all your list – on the serious side.

    As far as deviled eggs go, they never go far enough. 😉 In the last place my son-in-law preached, someone commented they didn’t think the preacher should eat anything “deviled.” Another member and I decided to call them “stuffed” eggs, which is a name also in recipe books, but they are still basically the same. I have yet to meet a man who doesn’t like them, and I usually make 1 1/2 dozen eggs (36 halves) so they will go farther. And I don’t have any pets to contaminate them. Ugh!

    Someone above commented he had never known of “clock nazis.” I didn’t call her that, but we did have one member who would get up at 12 noon and leave, whether or not the service had been concluded.

  25. Gallagher says:

    My frustration list:

    #1 – Myself

    #2 – People (wait, can I say that as a minster? HA!)

    #3 – silly discussions (example: pray with the communion lids on or pray with them off, which is scriptural)

    #4 – Potlucks where people eat all the good food first.

    #5 – When I forget that greatest thought I ever had…like now!

    #6 – ICE cold baptistrys where the wader leak.

    #7 – When someone sabotages the church potluck with a meat-substitute!

    Just my thoughts!

  26. Marc Tindall says:

    So, on the deviled egg thing, get the lady that makes the best deviled eggs to make you a “preachers plate!”, ask people for the VBS thing – you teachin’ 4 year olds or the teen class – make sure you ask them in front of 5 or 6 others. The problem finders – same thing – announce in a group setting that Brother Grump is going to lead the team that will solve the “heat, cold, singing, or other insignificant problem that he has identified” Put ’em on the spot.
    The my way or the highway folks – ask ’em if they have ever considered attending another church – that would sure throw ’em off….see you soon in Honduras.

  27. Lantz Howard says:

    I am going to limit my words right now, but “my way or the highway” is what erks me.

  28. fraizerbaz says:

    OK, these are all very understandable things… I definitely hear ya!

    Now, what are ten things that ENCOURAGE you as a minister?

    (Note to self – quadruple the recipe for deviled eggs for next potluck!)

  29. Sarah S. says:

    Definitely the “my way or the highway” types — especially those in church leadership.

    Night time VBS. I’m not a traditionalist, I’m just not an evening person.

    Oh… this is more a peeve (ridiculous/ unnecessary frustration) than actual frustration: my congregation renames and logos EVERYTHING. Call it what it is!!! Early service/ late service. Not ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Refresh’ (evening service is ‘Sundown’) They wonder why the visitors think we speak a foreign language? VBS? Yeah, we don’t do that — it’s SBA (Summer Bible Adventure) at our church — and we have our own logo for it. So there.

    Definitely close talkers.

    Complainers/ identifiers of every problem.

    Those who will turn their back on someone sitting alone to talk to their friends and not introduce themselves/ include them in the conversation.

    The reality and/or limitations of a church budget.

  30. Laci says:

    Up on my soap box once again….

    Preachers that don’t take the fact that we are in 2010 into consideration when preaching (we need commericals folks and not stupid internet stories that we read every day on our email). These same ones preach only to the older generation sitting in front pew of the church. I never understand how you can bring in the new generation if you continue to preach solely to the older generation. I respect the older generation, but do you want the church to die with them? Reach out, talk about subjects of today and how religion dealt with similar things in the past and how religion can help with those subjects, etc….

    And by the way, there are TWO testaments, not just one in the Bible for the record, preach from both on occasion.

    Off soap box now. Going back to my normal scheduled work thoughts.

    (for the record, Trey, your sermons do not fit into this gripe)

  31. Lisa F. says:

    Myself, when I become comfortable with the way things are.

    Myself, when I live out of fear instead of faith.

    Myself, when I fail to lead.

    Myself, when I lead my own way instead of God’s.

    Myself, when I lose hope.

    Myself, when I over-value what others think of me.

    Myself, when I am so focused on what I am doing that I miss good work being done quietly by others.

    Myself, when I forget that ‘just going to church’ is sometimes the best some of us can do.

    Myself, when I see people as they are, not who were intended to become.

    Myself, when I stop believing God still wants to change the world.

  32. Cheryl R says:

    Thank you for being an encouraging and positive force in our congregation and in our community. I am thankful that you chose to be a minister and that you and your family chose to work with our congregation. Reading over your top ten frustrations reminded me that any profession that involves working with people will have its challenges. Thank you for being positive and patient. You project an attitude of caring and love. About singing songs you don’t understand–I don’t like that either. That is why I got involved in researching songs.

  33. Rebhekka says:

    -when people that preach, preach that getting drunk and sex before marrige is bad when they themselves have a hangover from a wild Saturday night party.

    -People that think they can get away with murder and go to heaven just because they’ve been saved.

    – people that are hypocrites (I myself am guilty of this sometimes)

    – people that go to church just on Sunday morning and don’t even stay for the next service let alone the free dinnner.

    – false teachers.

    – people who only focus on what your problems are instead of fixing themselves. (am I doing that by talking about other peoples problems???)

    – people who go to church and text and talk during the whole service.

    – people with a fake feeling for God.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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