Some criticism is
frivolous. Someone doesn't like your clothes or hair.
Some criticism is personal. Your family isn't the
perfect model they expected.
Some criticism is
serious. Your preaching isn't what it should be.
Almost all criticism is painful.
We cannot control
whether we will face criticism. It will come. We cannot
always control when criticism comes, but we can control
our reaction to it.
Realize that criticism
will certainly come. The "honeymoon" is that
period of time when you have recently come to be pastor
of a church and you can seemingly do no wrong. All your
ideas are fresh and new. The people have not yet seen
you fail. Your few mistakes are overlooked because you
are new (you just didn't know any better). But the time
comes when the honeymoon is over. Reality sets in for
the pastor and the people. Be ready, criticism will
Make a distinction between the person
and the criticism. Remember that the person
who is making critical statements is not the enemy. Your
criticism may come from one who is a spiritual baby. He
or she may be backslidden. Your critic may be misguided
by some manipulative other person. Or the criticism may
even be right and justified. In any case, the critic is
not the enemy. Very likely, your critic loves God and
wants what is best for the church.
to love those who criticize you. Continue to
be their pastor. Minister to them at every opportunity.
Ask yourself what Jesus would do in this situation and
do your best to be like Him. Many times in my ministry I
have continued to love, and even serve, critical
persons, while they criticized me. Sometimes, not
always, these critical persons have become some of my
best friends and strongest supporters. How you react to
criticism is a demonstration of your maturity and
confidence. Don't become defensive. Resist the
temptation to strike back. It is unflattering and
Honestly attempt to
determine whether the criticism might be valid.
Even if the criticism is not deserved, you may be able
to learn from it. Remember the principle of Romans 8:28.
Since we know that "all things work together for good,"
God may intend for something good to come from this
Ask yourself these questions: Is
the criticism meant to be constructive or destructive?
Can I improve myself or my ministry by accepting this
criticism as constructive? Is pride keeping me from
hearing an important message?
source of the criticism. Why is this person
expressing criticism? Is there a pattern of a critical
spirit in this person? Is the critic usually negative?
Is this person motivated by factors other than the
Don't allow unjustified or
destructive criticism to get you off track.
Criticism can be discouraging. A discouraged pastor is
often an inactive pastor. When you are immobilized by
discouragement, you are less effective for the Lord; and
you are most vulnerable to your enemies. If you humbly
and honestly search your heart and believe the criticism
to be unjustified, continue to serve God and lead the
church. Continue to love and serve your people, even the
critical ones. Demonstrate patience and perseverance.
Don't let discouragement immobilize you.
Apologize when appropriate.If you have
miscommunicated or behaved in an inappropriate way or
harbored an inappropriate attitude, be mature enough to
apologize. Your stature as a leader will increase in the
eyes of your people.
(Adapted from Willie Beaty,
"How to Deal with Criticism," Great Commission
Breakthrough: "How to" Ideas for Great Commission