Dealing With Criticism

Dealing With Criticism
Jim Wideman

I’ve learned over the years that some people really want to help and offer advice or their opinion, while others only want to vent frustration and criticize. There’s a difference between advice and criticism. Criticism is never good, but advice can be constructive and helpful as correction. The Bible is clear in Proverbs 12:1: “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.”
In ministry, it’s crucial to learn how to deal with criticism without becoming critical yourself. A great rule to follow is to take note of who offers the advice, criticism, or correction and how they offer it. This will help you discern the validity of the message. Here’s who I listen to for advice:
– my pastor and direct supervisor,
– a person I know to have great wisdom and a proven track record of giving biblical counsel,
– volunteers under my supervision, and
– parents.

While it’s wise to listen to some, it’s equally wise to discern the intent of the advice given by the following people:
– strangers or individuals you don’t have a prior relationship with,
– people who are bitter or offended,
– individuals who have reputations as liars or hotheads, and
– prideful people.

When unsolicited advice finds you, here are helpful ways to deal with criticism without becoming critical.
– Stay open. There may always be new ways to do things. Look for fresh ideas in others’ advice that may yield better results.
– Learn. A good leader never stops learning. Seek out ways you can learn from people’s comments or concerns.
– Maintain humility. You’re in ministry to serve others-this includes your pastor, your volunteers, children, and their families. Listening to those you serve will help you grow in your ministry.
– Know your call. Don’t take offense when people advise or criticize. Be confident in your call to ministry and don’t let others bring you down.
The best advice I’ve ever received about ministry is to grow thick skin but keep a tender heart. When you remember this wise advice, you can deal with criticism without becoming critical.

Multiplying Ministry from Me to We.
Centret Volunteer 761

This article originally appeared in Children’s Ministry magazine, the leading resource for people in children’s ministry. This and hundreds of other articles are available free in the Idea Depot to members of Church Volunteer Central.
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