Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Pastor and Personal Criticism

No one like criticism. Even when the criticism is legitimate or at least partially legitimate the sting is very real. For pastors this is especially true because so much of our work depends on being liked. The reality is intensified because of the amount of criticism that many pastors receive.

In my case, God has been exceedingly gentle. He has caused me to serve as pastor to a very affirming congregation. What is more, the vast majority of the criticism that I do receive comes from brothers who I know care about me. But even when that is not the case I find that there is usually at least a kernel of truth that I need to hear and learn from.

Recently C.J. Mahaney completed a series of blog posts entitled "The Pastor and Personal Criticism." They are well worth the read.

1. The Pastor and Personal Criticism
2. The Pastor’s Temptations when Criticism Arrives
3. Learning Wisdom by Embracing Criticism
4. A Kind and Painful Bruising
5. The Pastor’s Wife and Her Role When Criticism Arrives
6. Adding a Few Smudges to My Moral Portrait
7. Deal Gently with Your Critics
8. Why Faithful Pastors Will Be Criticized
9. Too High an Estimation
10. Distinguishing Criticism
11. How to Criticize Your Pastor (And Honor God)


Bill Weber said...

Over the years I did not find that most criticism had merit, because most of it was unbiblical. I agree that we have to examine criticism and see it it is worthwhile, but so much of it is just nonsense. For example, "I can't concentrate over 20 minutes, so sermons should only be 20 minutes." "Why don't we have an American flag in the front of the church?" "Why did you preach on Titus 2:11-14 on Christmas, instead of the Christmas story from Luke 2?" "Why do you pray for so long, when the Lord's Prayer is so short?" "Your shirt wasn't tucked in." "You forgot to pray for Aunt Martha's sore toe."
"Why didn't we have music in the background as the bread and wine were passed out?" On and on, and very little had much biblical merit. In my experience, a good amount of criticism is so trivial and earthly-minded that the best response is to pray for people whose minds are on the things of earth, not the things of God.

Todd Pruitt said...


I don't disagree with you. There is pleny of complaining that goes on in most churches. The things you mention are the kinds of things I have heard as well. And I agree, grumbling should not be validated. God is no fan of grumbling and neither should be pastors.

However, my experience has been that when a brother comes to me personally to discuss something he sees in me that concerns him then I can usually benefit from it even when I disagree.

Bill Weber said...

Which just goes to show that you are more humble than me! Good response!