Criticism in Youth Ministry: 6 Steps You Should Take
Criticism is a constant in ministry. How should we respond? Consider these six steps.
- If you’re like me, criticism often catches you off guard, tempting you to become defensive or angry. This is rarely helpful to you or your critic. Take a breath or two and say a quick prayer before responding.
- Be honest enough with yourself to consider if the criticism is valid. Criticism may sting, but it might also be incredibly helpful – if we are discerning enough to learn and grow from any truth it may reveal. Take ownership when appropriate and apologize if necessary.
- Seek clarification. When possible, do your best to inquire further about the details surrounding your newest critique. Are you charged with an ongoing issue or is this a one-time thing? Are the circumstances involved within or beyond your control? Strive for understanding.
- Consider the source. Some people are simply toxic. Does this critic have your best interest in mind, or are they just a turd? A quick word of warning – be careful assigning too many people turd status. Too many critics on your “turd list” and I think we all know who the real turd is.
- Seek wise counsel. Take your criticism to a mentor who knows you and cares about your ministry. Ask if the criticism is fair and seek advice about how to proceed. Be ready to accept what you hear in this conversation and be willing to act on it.
- Make necessary adjustments. Criticism can be a blessing in disguise. We all have blind spots. We all need to improve a thing or two about ourselves and our ministries. When criticism reveals a growth opportunity, may God grant us the humility to accept, the discernment to understand, the creativity to modify and the determination to persevere – more effectively and with even greater enthusiasm as we minister forward.
DAVE BLANCHARD is the Director of Student Ministry at the West Houston Church of Christ. He is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who has worked in Oregon, Michigan and Texas. Dave has been married for 18 years with three kids and two pug dogs.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.