Monday, April 02, 2007

"Dealing with Criticism: Biting Your Tongue Instead of Biting Back," Michele Rummage

How would you respond?

Situation #1 “I want to pick a bone with you. Why did your husband say God is not in the habit of hiding His will from people? I keep searching for God’s will and He’s not sharing it with me. I don’t care for your husband.” How would you respond?

For me, I am usually so shocked that a person is criticizing me or my husband, that I just freeze and do not really say much of anything. I guess that just shows you my age. However, these women have been in ministry for as long as I have been alive, and Michele gave great advice. She said that now, finally, after years of ministry, she sees a criticizer as a broken soul. She does not look at it as an attack on her husband, but rather sees a woman who is hurting. Wow. I guess that is definitely looking at her through God’s perspective, and not a self-focused perspective.

She advised us to:

  1. Pray for this lady right then and there. Pray that she will have a closer relationship with the Lord, and that she can have the strength to love God with all her heart, soul, and mind. This is great advice that often many Christians forget to do. We are so worried about ourselves and being attacked that we forget to pray for the attackers. Don’t just tell them you will pray for them, PRAY FOR THEM RIGHT THEN AND THERE. That is the best ministry you can do for her, because there is power in prayer. Most times when we pray for her right then and there, a peace that surpasses all understanding comes over both people involved.
  2. Really smile with her
  3. Love on her
  4. Learn to give her the benefit of the doubt
  5. Show the joy that is inside you. Fight the fight of being negative about everything.

Situation #2: “Who in the world picked out this color for the carpet?” Your answer: The deacons and my husband picked out the carpet. “Well, they must be colorblind because the carpet doesn’t match anything in the church.” How would you respond?

Would you get on board and complain with her? With something as silly and meaningless as carpet, you probably just want to say something like, “It will grow on us.” Make some sort of effort to be positive about everything.

Situation #3: “Why do we have to go to two worship services and two Sunday schools? What we have right now is great! Everybody loves hymns. Why do we need drums, guitars, and all the new contemporary music? If new people come to our church, let them fit into what we are already doing.” How would you respond?

Wow. If you do not deal with this at some point, maybe you are not at a Southern Baptist Church. Here, Michele gave great advice (my husband and I learned this quickly this past year). She said to get the leaders in the church on board with the new music. In the deacons meeting, explain that hymns will still be sung, but just in a different way. We want to sing passionately and loudly to our God and Savior. This is the same in any ministry. Do not just change things at a church. Talk to the people in leadership and let them catch you vision. Personally, here at Crosswell, we had a great women’s ministry enrichment director (who is now definitely one of my best friends and has been babysitting Jackson since he was 2 ½ months old). She teaches school full time and cannot by herself pull of big events. So Carol, Charlie and I met and we got a leadership team (not another committee!) that represented a cross-section of the church with two younger ladies, two middle age ladies, and two older/wiser ladies (along with the WMU coordinator). We all three meet before the meeting and decide what the agenda is going to be each month. Our committee meets once a month and we pulled off the best women’s event ever! Get the people involved and excited about new things! Ps-we also have a children’s ministry leadership team in place now as well.

Situation #4: “I’m not happy with this new rule that the parent has to pick up the child from the preschool area. I’ve been sending my fifth grader all year. Now I have to go and pick up my two year old. It’s hard to pick up four children on Sunday.” How would you respond?

For this, all you really can say is that our number one concern is the safety of our children; let them see Jesus in you.

Criticism is often a reality of ministry life, but it doesn’t have to define the way you serve God.

Mathew 5:44 “But I say to you love you enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Just love on them!

Jude 16-19 “These grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lust; and they moth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.”

Be sure to go to the Lord in prayer. Seek His guidance.

Psalm 142: 1-7:

I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.

I pour out my complaint before him;
before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,

it is you who know my way.
In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.

Look to my right and see;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living."

Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.

Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me

Next, go to a trusted friend in ministry at another church. It is important to have friendships with couples, ladies, and moms in your church, but be careful about confiding to someone in your church

Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

Colossians 3:13: “Bear with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do,”

Wow, I know that was a lot. Charlie is also blogging about the Empowered Church at:

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