A couple of days ago I had a girl sitting in my office who wanted to
catch up and “get to know her pastor.” After talking through her story
for a while she started to tell me how much she loves our church. I
felt proud of the fact that she seemed to connect to what we are doing
as a community.
She then went into great detail about how much
she loved the teachers who used to teach at our church. She went on to
say,”I now come for the music and the people. I really don’t like the
teaching here anymore.” This is feedback that I would love to pass
along to the person who teaches on a regular basis except for the fact
that the teacher she was referring to was me.
Last year a pastor
that I had never met before told me that my announcement delivery was
“too feminine.” I’ve been told that my “honesty from the stage makes
people want to leave our church.” Someone once emailed me to say that I
had used too many Scriptures in my message and that I needed to “cut
down on those.” I’m my own worst critic, but as it turns out I’m not my
A few random thoughts about all of this:
01. Criticism hurts my feelings.
used to pretend that the emails and random comments from unaware church
people didn’t bother me … but they did. Criticism made me want to quit
and give up. A few thousand dollars into counseling some years ago, I
was able to process the wounds of my life in a way that led me to some
deep healing in the area of insecurity. Maturity and healing have
allowed me to come clean about how it makes me feel without losing the
sleep that I did before. It is so freeing to have my feelings hurt and
not be wounded.
02. Criticism lets me know what people are REALLY thinking.
people like my teaching or not I appreciate hearing what made sense,
raised questions, challenged their beliefs and what they downright
disagreed with. Honesty is one of the personality traits of the kind of
church that I want to be a part of. I can’t demand honesty from our
church and then try to dismiss it when it gets pointed at me. Of course
constructive criticism is far more helpful than general
negativity, but as I become a healthier follower of Jesus I’m able to
discern the difference.
03. Criticism is formational for me.
of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about teaching didn’t come from a
book or a classroom. They came from comments like these that reminded
me [usually when I thought I had arrived] that I must continue to be
intentional about my development as a communicator.
04. The day my teaching ceases to be criticized, I’ve done something wrong.
can google a pastor’s name that you respect as a communicator and find,
within a few google pages, the haters that exist out there. If you scan
the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life you’ll remember the heat He
regularly took for the things He taught. I’m not saying that being
criticized means that you’ve magically become a great teacher. But I am
saying that a lack of criticism might mean that you’ve lost your way.
How does criticism affect you?