There are several things we can do with criticism:
- We can minimize it. People who are busy helping advance the mission don’t have the time to complain! It’s the people who aren’t involved (and therefore aren’t having any fun) that have the time to complain. We can minimize complaints by getting people involved in advancing the mission by serving.
- We can learn from it. Sometimes people have valid complaints that might need to be addressed. But if we’re not careful we’ll take it as an attack vs an opportunity to learn.
- We can cave to it. Sometimes we learn from criticism and make changes. Other times, we have to hold our ground and not cave in (if the complaint takes the church off mission).
- We can teach on it. Through our preaching we can teach people to focus on the positive, not the negative.
- We can invite it through foolish behavior. Without discretion and wisdom, we can invite criticism. For example, I know a pastor at a church in Maryland who took up the offering by thanking the congregation for the staff outing and white water rafting trip. That’s foolish! The trip might have been necessary, but that’s not the kind of thing you highlight during the offering.