by Executive Pastor Mark Waltz

I admit it. Sometimes I’d like to vent and spew my opinions—without my name. After all, it’s easier. No one can challenge me. No one can offer a rebuttal. It’s a lot easier to be anonymous. And it’s also more cowardly.

Several times a month I read anonymous comments from someone who attended a service at our church. Often the comments are prayers for a friend or family member. That’s okay. No harm done. Although I’d love to pray with more specificity. And it’s impossible for us to reach out to an anonymous person to offer support. It’s a bummer, but we still pray.

However, the stabbing, unkind, self-righteous, all-knowing criticisms and complaints that come from Mr. or Ms. Anonymous demonstrate a lack of willingness to dialog and a spineless mockery of courage. Most every time, these anonymous commenters, by their very content, reveal they are “insiders,” “Christians,” people who regularly attend worship services.

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by Sean Bublitz, Creative Arts Director

Everyone has an opinion. It seems to be accentuated in the church. People give their time and resources and they’re passionate about what happens in your organization. And you want it that way. You would rather have them fired up and passionate than lethargic and uninterested. So what do you do when their passion turns into criticism of you, your team, or something you’ve created?

  • Find the kernel of truth. There are two kinds of criticism; constructive and destructive. Destructive criticism you should completely ignore, move on, and possibly deal with in other ways. Constructive criticism can be helpful, but a lot of time is still hard to hear. Discipline yourself to reflect back on the conversation and look for the kernels of truth. Whether it’s a hallway conversation, email, or someone walking by the front-of-house sound booth, make sure you search for ways that the criticism can make you better.
  • Ask questions first. Before you defend yourself against criticism, ask questions. Sometimes criticism just comes from misunderstanding. Asking questions can help you understand where the criticism is coming from. Questions also help lower the defenses of the critic. They see you as someone who really does want to understand, and that can turn a critic into an ally.

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