You will face criticism for the things that you do. You will create something that people don’t like. You will be forced to make a difficult decision that upsets a family. Somebody won’t like the music choices you make for weekend services. Criticism is inevitable in ministry because it is impossible for you to keep everyone happy. When you are faced with criticism, how do you respond?
Don’t take it personally. Because ministry is often a creative endeavor, it is easy for us to be very personally connected to our work. This means that when somebody criticizes something in your ministry, not only do you look at it as a criticism of your ministry’s activities, but as a criticism as you personally. Don’t. There will be things that we do in our ministries that people don’t agree with for a variety of reasons; in those cases, try to disconnect yourself from the ministry you run enough to objectively look at the criticism and evaluate it.
Don’t respond when you’re fired up. Usually when your ministry or your leadership are criticized, you will get fired up. You are passionate about your ministry and confident in your decisions as a leader; you should care if somebody says that you are doing it wrong. But in the midst of this passion, be careful not to respond immediately. Give the critic some time to let what they said sink in and give yourself some time so that you can have a respectful and thought out opinion. If you have to say something, write the e-mail and delete it.
Get an outside opinion. Some people are just unhappy and criticize everything; other people have some valuable insights that we need to take into consideration. Find someone outside of yourself so that they can help you discern what should be ignored and what should be taken into account.
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