I would venture that all of us have experienced the fallout of dealing with negativity...someone in your church just doesn't like you and doesn't feel the need to hide that fact. Maybe they don't like what you're doing; maybe you remind them of someone they couldn't trust...someone who hurt them deeply at some point in their life. Sometimes, I really think it can be as simple as a personality mismatch. Whatever the reason, we probably all have stories of someone who seemed to step on every nerve we have. However, sometimes I think the overly positive people in our churches can be an even greater hurdle for us.
Whoa; hold up a bit. Hear me out before you scroll on to the next thing.
I'm not talking about those God sent battle ready mature Christians we would make parishioner of the week every week if we could. This is a whole different situation... This is that woman who catches you at the door and says, "pastor, we came from x church or x community. They were so cold and just didn't care about people at all. We LOVE it here! The people are so friendly and your sermons are the best I've ever heard in my whole life. The worship should be on the radio it's so good! Where we came from people didn't even notice when we were gone/had surgery/moved. The worship just wasn't real; they were all fake and the preaching didn't feed me..." Cue the music for when you're x church they're talking about at their new church.
Or the new staff member who gushes about how it's the best job they've ever, ever had and sometimes even gives expensive thank you gifts in the first six months they're on staff. These things are extremely flattering to hear and stroke the ego well, but I've learned to groan inwardly when someone gets overly expressive about how amazing the church/their job/I am within the first weeks/months of joining us. I can't remember even one positive staff experience that started this way.
Why is this? I haven't a clue...maybe those who wait to settle in before thoroughly attaching base their attachments less on emotion and more on reality? Maybe those who understand real loyalty and commitment are more careful about where they give it because they know the true, long term cost and are willing to go there? It's just an observation I've made. Thoughts?