Kids may be cruel, but parents can be even worse. A church youth minister had been learning about youth ministry in college, and he wanted to know how the parents felt about his work. He decided to ask the parents to fill out surveys.
When the results came back, the youth minister wished he hadn’t asked the question. One parent said, “You asked that my son come to your group on time. I think you need to take a course on patience.”
Another parent, remembering a time when college work forced the young minister to find a substitute, said, “You just came to get your diploma. You don’t really care about our kids.”
After reading all of the comments, the youth minister began to wonder if getting involved in ministry was such a great idea after all.
Many church leaders and workers quit the ministry because the criticism becomes too great for them to bear. Criticism is something we will not be able to avoid. Even Jesus was criticized. Knowing how to deal with criticism when it comes is the key to being successful.
Amofah A. Asamoah shares several ways we can handle criticism in his article “Dealing with Criticism from Parishioners”:
- Don’t always look at criticism as a negative. Instead of taking it personally, see it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, grow, and make improvements.
- Pray for the people who criticize you. Through prayer, God will either change you or change them.
- Don’t let criticism keep you from doing what is right.
- Address the critic’s needs quickly and show them that you care about their concerns. If there is something you can change, then do it right away. Even your worst critics should be treated with love and kindness.
- Treat critics like friends, not enemies. Work with them, talk with them, and laugh with them. You’ll probably find they weren’t really enemies, just people with issues they needed you to help them with.
Do you have a hard time dealing with criticism? It’s okay. You’re not the only one. Put these things into practice in your life and ministry — and you may still get down when you are criticized . . . but you won’t be out.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder