Critics come in many forms. Let's talk about the critics for just a moment.
- The Critic inside your church is often the long time church goer, self-identified mature believer, who has always done or experienced church in a certain manner. And, if you innovate, turn up the volume or stretch the comfort zone, they feel as though their spiritual gift is to help reign you in and slow you down.
- The Critic outside your church is often a person from another church, or at least a devout religious person, who assumes they know "your kind" and your heart. (Often these are other pastors as well!) They have never set foot inside your building, and wouldn't because it would be uncomfortable. They find comfort in being the expert and judge of what they do not know and have not experienced.
- The worst Critic is you....As soon as you experience the criticism of others, you begin to believe it and you beat yourself up! You can, and often are, your worst enemy!
The reality is that there will never be a lack of critics in a leader's, and especially as pastor's world! The more you speak truth, the more you innovate and the more you make waves....the more critics you will have. The real problem comes when you start listening to every critic who comes along. The problem really isn't the critic....it's you! Why????
- Every time you listen, you are making it all about you!
- Every time you believe the critic, you form your self assessment apart from Jesus' belief in you!
Too many of us waste time listening to every critic. Too many of us waste time worrying about our abilities, our calling and our vision because we have listened to the wrong voices. Too many of us waste time engaging in conversation, blogging and fighting when we should be working to lead people to Jesus! Too many of us have wasted too much time worrying about ourselves, and not enough time focusing on Jesus and His Gospel! After all, that's what it's all about....JESUS.
You and I need people who help critique our lives and our ministries. We need them, because we are not good enough to do it alone. But, we don't need just anyone who feels as though they can run their mouth or comment on Facebook and your blog. As my friend Perry Noble says, you need people who love Jesus first, the Church second and you third. When they are in that order, they are the voices worth listening to. (You can click here to listen to Perry's podcast on critics, Ignoring the Jackass)
Understand this....Critics inside your church need to be serving, giving and leading to demonstrate their love for the church and Jesus first. Critics outside your church can't even qualify here, because if they love your church so much, why aren't they there? And, if you don't know someone personally, how in the world can they truly love you? Choose your critics wisely!
Finally, most importantly, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU! It's not about preaching a good sermon, it's not about the right worship set, it's not about the right presentation, it's not about you looking or sounding good and it's not about people liking you. While all those things can help, and all those things are nice....It's about people being saved, lives being changed and Jesus being the main focus. If people criticize changed lives, saved people, whose voice have they echoed....Jesus or Satan?
Don't worry about your critics....Worry about your calling to make much of Jesus and keep going!