Thick Skin

“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.

  1. Stacy,

    Thank you! I cannot thank you enough for modeling “thick skin” for me and everyone in your presence. It is a valuable skill, I am working hard to get there but your model is amazing for everyone you come in contact with. Your staff are the stuff dreams are made of.

    I have grown up in church and have had many a pastor, youth pastor, children’s pastor in and out of my life and my children’s lives. The staff that North Creek has is nothing short of miraculous. I cried with Pastor Kim on Sunday, laughed with Pastor Kris, talked with Pastor Mark…the list goes on. Your lives are blessed and the big picture is handled. You are feeding people, growing families, and loving on kids. My entire life I have longed for just one pastor that did not disappoint and North Creek has an entire staff of pastors who have not disappointed me or my family. My children are growing and are loved and my marriage is stronger, our faith is stronger because of your wonderful staff. The “issues” that could be pointed out or are pointed out are just what you said – lives being moved and orchistrated by God working in areas of our little lives.

    THANK YOU ALL for being amazing and not giving up when the coffee is too weak or the building is too cold or when you hear any of the criticisms offered. THANK YOU for knowing that you have a big picture and following where God leads. THANK YOU for offering insight that this is happening. I realize maybe why pastors burn out or why churches fail. THANK YOU that you all do not let the enemy attack but rather put on a “thick skin” provided by God’s larger plan. It may take a minute for all of us little people to figure out the big picture so I apologize for our slowness. I do hope that I can provide inspiration as a changed being-your model works, your team is gifted and when we get it the world better watch out. You have amazing things in your future and you are loved and believed in. Thank you for never giving up on me!

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