Pastors, pastors, pastors… we all like for everyone to say, “How Great Thou Art,” but let’s face it we are not always so great. This blog speaks to those individuals that I believe God has placed in our lives to help us do our job better.
If God could use a ‘donkey’ to warn a man, then God can also use the least likely person to get a message to us.
I read an article about “5 Wrong Ways to Respond to Criticism” by Ron Edmond. I want to address his number one and that was finding fault with the critic. Let’s face it, some people are just a ‘thorn’ in our side. Their delivery can be insensitive or even demeaning.
Before we blow them off however, we need to ask ourselves if there is any validity to the criticism.
PERSONAL TRUE STORY.
We were once at a meeting various ministry leaders were seated around the table. Someone asked my daughter, (the youngest in the meeting of 17) what she thought about the service. She blurted out, “It SUCKS!”
You could have bought me for a dime as I was humiliated as I knew what people were thinking – hmm she hasn’t received any home training.
She then proceeded to tell the group why she felt the way she did. Her frustration was that the group already knew what the problem was and failed to do anything about for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.
Later she confessed to me that . . .
1) she really did not want to be at the meeting because most of the meetings were a waste of time.
2) if she was going to participate she was going to express her feelings in a way everyone would understand.
3) she was tired of sitting in meetings where everyone was superficial and were always trying to suck up to the pastor.
4) she was in school and her time was limited. She did not have time to mince words, be politically correct in hoping one could put together context clues to figure out what she was saying.
Although I agreed with her in principle, it is clear her approach was not the best. However, her criticism was not only heard, but understood.
I believe we all need to run all criticisms through the Holy Spirit filter and ask Him if there is any truth to the criticism and ask Him to give us to courage to do the “HARD” things for the sake of the Kingdom.
This may be easier when it comes to dealing with issues relative to other people, but we need to keep in mind that the problem can also be with us.
It really makes no difference how long we have been in ministry, been preaching, how credentialed we are or what Ivy League seminary we graduated from because the culture changes. And because of these changes, we may find ourselves in a position of having to change.
Yes the Message stays the same, but the method may need to be tweaked!
We will never have this thing down pat. We all need to be learning continually; we need more exposure and we need to continually strive to do things ‘better.’
And lastly, we need to listen to what people are saying to see if there is any validity to their statements even if they blurt out that “It SUCKS!” This criticism could be your greatest teaching tool.