Sunday, April 19, 2009

What To Do With Criticism?

Having worked in different aspects of music ministry for almost 15 years, I am no stranger to criticism. It has come from people who are very close to me as well as people who prefer to remain anonymous. Some criticisms are delivered in the context of anger and others are thoughtful and constructive. Here’s a few things I try to think about when criticism comes my way:

1. What can I learn?

Though it is humbling to have someone critique your work, it is important to maintain a teachable attitude.

2. Always assume the best

Unless it is substantiated that this is not the case, it is important to always assume that people have good intention when they share their concerns.

3. Validate people’s concerns

In most cases, the person sharing the concern is very sincere. Try your best to “walk in their shoes” and empathize with them.

4. Rebuke when needed

If people are sinning in how they confront (critical spirit, arrogance, etc.), then call them on their sin. If they are complaining about someone else then ask them to take that concern directly to the person before speaking with you.

5. Consider subjectivity

Remember that people’s opinions are often subjective. Sometimes you simply have to agree to disagree.

6. Educate

Often people disagree with a decision because they aren’t aware of all the information that went into making the decision. Do your best to inform them so they can get your perspective on the issue.

7. Empower

Sometimes our strongest critics can become our greatest ally if we get them involved in the process of coming up with solutions. If someone doesn’t like the way a specific ministry operates, then get them involved in a group working to reform or guide that ministry.

8. Let it go

Try your best to not take criticism personally. If our identity is too tied into our work, then we will allow criticism to paralyze us, making us ineffective for the Kingdom. Once you’ve received and learned all you can from criticism, the next step is to move on.