Ministry Criticism

I recently had an interesting conversation at church.

Someone came up to me while I was talking to the crew in the sound booth. This person said that they said that they would like to come up to the booth during a worship service and observe how things work. Their belief was that watching the crew doing what they do would help him/her be more understanding when microphones didn’t get turned on in a timely fashion during worship (my paraphrase).

To someone who had no experience running sound, the sound board looks VERY daunting. I really appreciated this persons honesty. I immediately asked this person if I could post what they said. I thought it was very timely, and probably would resonate with a lot of people.

It is so easy to be quick to judge when things go wrong in a ministry with which we are not affiliated. Since the church does not have a parking lot ministry, I’ll use that as an example. If a church’s parking ministry is understaffed, one might assume the scheduling was mishandled, when the problem could be illness or travel or any number of other factors.

When problems arise, blame is often assigned without adequate knowledge of the situation. I have found that personal investment allows me to be more understanding of missteps. If I know the people and situations involved, then problematic episodes are less of a big deal. When I do not have intimate knowledge of a ministry’s ins and outs, I tend to be more critical.

On the other hand, those of us in specialized ministries need to be understanding and gracious when faced with criticism. If we understand that the areas in which we serve have a skill set not readily available to outsiders, we can better deal with complaints and backlash from those on the outside looking in.

There are some complicated, multi-faceted jobs in most churches. While those exercising their “spiritual gift of rebuke” are not in the right, their concern can be attributed in part to frustration about a set of circumstances they do not understand.

It is so vital to be patient and understanding within our church families. When problems arise, we all need to exercise grace. We are all called to serve and minister to each other within the Church, so we should look for opportunities to show the love of Christ in our interactions, even when such interactions are laced with frustration.

Have you ever felt criticism of your particular ministry was because the person doing the criticising just didn’t understand how the ministry operated? How did you handle it?

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4 thoughts on “Ministry Criticism

  1. That is so true. I think most frustrations in ministries occur because of miscommunications or misunderstanding the facts. I applaud the individual who came forward with their complaint, went to the proper person and tried to understand all of the facts. And when we still don’t understand the problem, GRACE should triumph over dischord.

    1. That was the cool part. They WEREN’T complaining. They just wanted to understand the ins and outs better so they could understand why problems occur from time to time.

      If more people began with the understanding that they really don’t know how every ministry works from the ground up, churches would be much better off.

      1. Sometimes, I just want to stand next to the soundboard and figure out why mics aren’t turned on or off at the right time. Problem is, I’m usually already there 😉

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