Pastor: Wristbands Cut Congregation's Complaints

Bethel Temple Community Church has ended a unique challenge that aimed to stop its congregation from complaining for 21 days.

Church pastor the Rev. Steve Schwambach passed out 1,900 purple wristbands sporting the phrase "No complaining! Php 2:14." to his congregation. Band wearers were supposed to switch it from wrist to wrist every time they caught themselves complaining.

The challenge ended on Sunday.

The Bible reference (Philippians 2:14-15) says, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault..."

Schwambach said he passed out the wrist bands after taking the challenge himself. He broke his first bracelet from switching wrists so often.

The no complaints campaign started last summer at Christ Church Unity in Kansas, City, Mo., where the Rev. Will Bowen came up with the idea of using a wristband memory aid.

Once you stop voicing complaints, Bowen said, you tend to stop thinking negatively.

"When you're complaining, you're focusing on what you don't want," Bowen said. "If you stop complaining, then you're open to the blessing."

Bowen and his church have shipped more than 5 million "no complaints" bracelets around the world, to churches, sports teams, teachers, substance-abuse recovery groups and others. Demand has been so great that there's a wait of about 12 weeks for a bracelet.

It worked with at least one Bethel Temple participant. The first day of the challenge, Cheryl LeClaire caught herself in about five complaints. By earlier this week, she'd made it for three days without a complaint.