Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Critiquing Criticism

  • Jim Townsley
  • Oct 16, 2017
Every leader must recognize that they are vulnerable to criticism and acknowledge it is part of being a leader. Many times criticism is unfair or unjustified and it can have a negative impact upon a young preacher who is not prepared for it. The ministry is difficult enough without critics but every preacher must learn how to deal with this problem.
It is important to be humble and not blind to one’s shortcomings. Most young men who are new to the ministry will already have feelings of inadequacy, but they must fight the urge to always defend themselves as being right. Humble men will soon command more respect as a leader, because people know they are committed more to truth than to their own ego. Although much criticism may not be done in the right spirit it still may be an accurate assessment of your shortcomings. When taken to heart criticism can contribute to the growth of a young man. “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”  - - Pro 19:20.
Sometimes criticism is unfair and perhaps inaccurate causing a young man to question how he should handle it. If after listening to a complaint and after humble consideration you conclude that this criticism is merely criticism and you did nothing in error or wrong you must decide how you will respond. One way to respond is to thank the person for their suggestions and give no response and change nothing. Just let it go. Sometimes it is better not to answer someone who you know will disagree with you no matter what you say. Another way to respond to unfair criticism is to explain your actions and inform the person in a humble way why you did what you did. If the same person continually criticizes you or the ministry it may be cause for church discipline or calling in another godly brother to meet with this person. Church discipline was a function of the early church and its use is still valid and necessary today.
Trying to appease every critic can be just as damaging as ignoring every critic. Part of godly leadership involves the ability to listen to criticism and honestly evaluate its merits and make a decision to go forward regardless if the critic agrees with you or not. Fretting over the response of a critic will dampen the vision of a young pastor and a new church planter must see the big picture and realize the ministry is more important than one member.
Few people can totally ignore criticism and be unaffected by it. Words hurt and a person with a critical spirit can become a thorn in the side of a preacher. But the ministry is more important than our feelings and we must accept criticism when it applies and ignore it when it doesn’t. There is no reason to be unkind to anyone who wants to help you by critiquing your ministry, but you must make the right decisions for the church and move forward based upon God’s leading in your life. 
Thank God for our critics who sharpen our theology, our plans, and our vision. These souls serve an important mission in our churches. When they cross the line and begin to hinder the work they must be dealt with in a loving but firm and biblical manner. If they fail to repent and be restored in the right spirit they must be dismissed from the church. This should be a very rare occasion but it may become necessary. If we ignore our critics we will likely repeat our mistakes again and again. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” - - Proverbs 12:15. We must not allow unfair criticism to hinder us from making right decisions for the new church. No one wants to be criticized, but we must critique our critics to see if they have a point that will help us as we try to build a church for God.