Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Pastor and Criticism

C.J. Mahaney has begun a series of posts addressing how the pastor ought to respond to criticism. In his first post, Mahaney gratefully acknowleges the tremendous gift of having pastored a grateful congregation for 27 years. But even having received what is probably an atypical amount of encouragement he still has learned much from being criticized.
In every church there will be those who are not particularly grateful, who normally communicate with you only in the form of criticism. And to some degree this is the norm for every pastor.

If you are a pastor you will be criticized. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually you will feel the sharp sting of critique.

Those within your church may criticize you, those who leave the church may criticize you, and even complete strangers may criticize you. The criticism will come from enemies and from friends. Some of the criticism will be true, some of it will be false, and some may be outright malicious. But it’s coming—if it hasn’t already arrived.

And there are many reasons why we can expect criticism:

•A pastor can expect criticism because of his own sin, which will inevitably be present in his heart and service, no matter how mature or well meaning he is (James 3:2).
•A pastor can expect criticism because there are limitations to his gifting, meaning there will always be weaknesses in his leadership.
•A pastor can expect criticism because we often preach below-average sermons. (After one sermon, a guy asked me, “So where do you work during the week?” My sermon apparently gave him the impression that preaching wasn’t my vocation.)
•A pastor can expect criticism because people can be proud and ungrateful.
•A pastor can expect criticism because, well, it is a sinful and fallen world.

But we as pastors often forget one more important reason:

•A pastor can expect criticism because it is part of God’s sanctification process—a tool that he uses to reveal idols and accelerate the pastor’s growth in humility.
Read the entire post HERE.

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