If you’re going to be a pastor, you’re going to be criticized. If you don’t believe it check out Scripture. Almost every biblical leader you can think of was criticized… harshly. A quick list of just a few would include Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, almost every one of the major and minor prophets, David, Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles. And if you consider post biblical church history you’ll find leaders of movements and pastors like Martin Luther, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Billy Graham, Yonggi Cho, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and many others coming under unnecessary scrutiny.
If you’re going to be a pastor you’re going to be criticized. So, when should a pastor ignore criticism?
- When the person that is critical is a critical person. Some people are critical of everything. They have a history of criticizing almost everything and everyone. When they scream wolf again, ignore them.
- When you know what you’re doing is the right thing to do. Oftentimes a church leader has done homework no one else has done and is certain that the thing they are leading people to do is the right thing to do. In these instances, move forward with graciousness and wisdom, but move forward.
- When God has revealed to you that you’re to carry out a specific expectation. When God has personally, through the Holy Spirit or His Word, revealed an expectation of you, you must move forward no matter how many critics you have.
- When the vision God has given you is so immense it’s impossible for some to envision the dream ever becoming a reality. Sometimes God gives a leader a vision that seems so big that faithless realists cannot envision that dream becoming a reality. When critics criticize you for dreaming God-size dreams and suggesting that you live in fantasy land, ignore them.
- When your critics are your enemies. Like Nehemiah, sometimes leaders are criticized for doing a good thing and those who are critical are critical simply because they are the leader’s enemies. When enemies criticize realize that they aren’t criticizing the project, they’re criticizing the project manager… you. This is the most painful of realities but it is a reality that needs to be understood none-the-less.