11 Characteristics of Church Pessimists

Yesterday I preached in this shirt…


I wanted to send a visible message to our congregation that one of the ways we Christians can stand out in today’s world of increasing negativity is to be a source of positivity.  And who has more reason to “stay positive” than the redeemed children of God whose Savior has conquered death?

I also wanted to encourage our congregation to “stay positive” because we are in a season of transition, and in seasons like that it can be very tempting for some to turn negative.  And the sad reality is that churches are filled with pessimists.

Awhile back, church strategist Chuck Lawless published two lists of characteristics of church pessimists.  I am posting his first list today, and I’ll post his second list on Wednesday.  I hope you’ll take the time to read through Chuck’s lists because they make each of us more aware of attitudes and postures we should avoid.

11 Characteristics of Church Pessimists

  1. You assume the worst about most people and situations. Even if everything sounds good, you assume there’s some ulterior unspoken motive.
  2. You see only the negative. You may think you’re the only one in the room who sees reality (at least as you see it), but you never see any positive.
  3. Everything is negative unless it’s your idea. If it’s your idea, though, it’s all positive.
  4. Every sentence has a “but”. . . .  Even a sentence that begins with “I really like that idea” still continues with a “but here’s the problem I see.”
  5. You see yourself as a realist, not a pessimist. I don’t know anyone who considers himself or herself a pessimist.
  6. Optimists bug you. In your opinion, they live in the clouds.
  7. You see everyone else around you as pessimists. In many cases, they’re actually modeling you—but you don’t recognize it.
  8. You continually point out the difference between “faith” and “foolishness.” You’re more concerned about crossing the line into foolishness than you are about walking by faith.
  9. Prayer is not easy. That’s because genuine prayer requires looking forward with hope and trust and confidence.
  10. Your friendships don’t typically last long. Even brothers and sisters in Christ aren’t interested in hanging around you for long – but your tendency is to blame them.
  11. This post bugs you. To be honest, portions of this post bug me, and I wrote it! I, too, can be a pessimist at times. Please pray for me.

What other characteristics come to mind?

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