“The best way to avoid criticism is to not do anything significant.”
There will always be someone who doesn’t like what you do. That goes double for those of us in ministry. It’s part of life and it’s the highest hurdle for leaders to jump. We all have the best of intentions, and at the same time, we all feel the need to give our 2 cents worth of criticism wherever we go. For some reason it’s just in us to look around and decide what would be better if it was done “my way”.
The service is too short, the service is too long, the kids ministry is too rowdy, the kids ministry is too boring, the pastor isn’t funny enough, “I’m not being fed”, the lady at the door wasn’t friendly enough, the parking lot is too full and the coffee is too weak, we should have more worship songs, we should have less worship songs, we should have an altar call, and where in the world does the prayer ministry fit in?, we should have softer chairs, we should have softer music, except for last week when the music was too soft…and don’t even get me started on those teenagers…
Although this input can all be valuable and even correct, for leaders who have bled for their ministries, it can also be deflating. The key is to get some thick skin and remember WHO you are aiming to please. This is easier said than done because we are made of this stuff called flesh that is easily injured.
Ministers also think big picture, which is most of the dilemma in handling criticism. We might know that there are problems, but we might also see that one of our team members is growing in a certain area. We see the value in the growth, more than the immediate issue. We might see failure, not as the problem that someone else sees, but rather the means to an end of how God is molding and shaping someone’s life. Or we might be thinking of EVERYBODY’S need, wants, desires, struggles, and dreams, rather than just one person at a time. We might be making the best decision for the whole at the sake of the individual.
So, to all of you pastors and key leaders out there, don’t stop. Listen briefly, change what is necessary, and keep focused on what God has asked you to do. Do you best, get thick skin, and change the world…not in your perfection, but in your determination.