Methodists/Member complaint procedure


Sir, I am the new Chairperson of our S/PPRC and I can't seem to find an adequate answer in the book of discipline for who is to handle complaints from a member of the congregation concerning their alleged rude behavior from the Pastor? I found a form on the site for the complainant to fill out and to return to me, but it has no guidelines as to what I should do next. I am very capable of handling this problem as I have experience in this field, but my question, is, do I have the authority to call a meeting between the complainant and the Pastor and act as a moderator/mediator in resolving the issue at hand?

Dear Braden,

Thank you for wiring.  Please know that, as chair of the S/PPRC, you are fully authorized and expected to handle complaints from a church member concerning "alleged rude behavior from the Pastor."  You do, indeed, have the authority to call for a meeting between the complainant and the Pastor and to act as moderator/mediator in resolving the issue at hand.  I would suggest beginning by speaking, confidentially, with the pastor to inquire about the situation.  Following that conversation, your best-case scenario would be to bring the Pastor and the complainant together in order to seek reconciliation between them.  If there is hostility (from the pastor or the church member) then further steps may be required to prepare the way -- discussion with the pastor, discussion with church member, brining in a trusted third party (other than you) ... a person who is trusted by BOTH the pastor and the church member.  

I want to be clear, there may come a time where the DS might need to be brought in ... if the situation is intractable, the pastor is in denial and clearly in the wrong, then the District Superintendent may need to be brought in.  However, in most cases this won't be necessary.

If you have further questions, or would like further help in charting your course of action in this or other matters, please feel free to write again.


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Rev. Gregory S. Neal


I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.


I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

I have my own website:   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at and in bookstores.

I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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