Wednesday the topic of our Men’s Bible Study was on rejection. Zephaniah made the point that God delights in accepting rejects and outcasts. The opening illustration of the devotion [StandFirm] recounted the adverse effects of criticism and rejection.
Everyone, including pastors, have heard from those who are quick to critique.
I recently listened to a podcast from Thom Rainer, and the group chatted on the topic of pastoral criticisms. Part of the discussion centered on “The Wildest Criticisms of Pastors.” It was a survey conducted by ChurchAnswers.Com.
Here are the top 10 results
- “You should not wear a pink shirt to the pulpit.”
- “Pastors are not allowed to use hand-held mics.”
- “You cannot preach with power unless you wear a flag lapel pin.”
- “There are too many new Christians in our church.”
- “You don’t trust God since you go to board meetings.”
- “The Holy Spirit cannot use you if you plan your sermons ahead of time.”
- “You are lazy since we sang consecutive hymns from the hymnal.”
- “A pastor should not have a dog as pet.”
- “Your wife should work no more than 15 hours a week outside the home.”
- “Your wife should not be pregnant.”
Reading these gave me a good chuckle. I hope they did you as well. However, I have become even more mindful of the effect my words have on others. The gift of criticism and critique is not a spiritual gift. In fact, the Bible encourages using words that uplift, encourage and edify instead. (I Thessalonians 5:11)
I confess, sometimes I do better at edifying than at other times. It’s just one more piece of evidence that I am not perfect and God is still working with me.
I believe this is true for all of us, even the critic, don’t you?