I recently asked on my twitter and facebook what people wanted me to blog about and a few suggested “getting attacked” or “taking criticism”. I haven’t been in ministry forever but I have been at this long enough to take a bullet or two so I thought I would write my…

Top 5 tips for dealing with critics.

  1. Pray-Your first reaction will be to gossip or defend yourself by fighting back.  Resist this and stop what you are doing and pray.  Sounds so cheesy and religious but it is so necessary so that Satan doesn’t get a foothold.  He would love to cause division in the Body of Christ between people.
  2. Consider the source-You are always going to take attacks, but you have to know if it is someone who has the right to speak into your life and ministry. I am not encouraging arrogance and thinking that you are above confrontation or correction, but you have to make sure it is someone who deserves the platform.
  3. Confront things in person-not email or phone-If this person has a problem with you no matter how you found out (facebook, gosseip) it is your job as a believer to make it right.  Confront this head on and try to resolve it.  Don’t email back or text.  Talk in person and handle it as it deserves.
  4. Make sure that you are not being taken out of context or misunderstood-Many misunderstandings are simply because people misunderstood you, your vision, or your motives.  When you are face to face with people and clarifying what upset them you will find that many things are misunderstandings.
  5. Attacks always come from pain-This is one of the greatest things I think my lead pastor is great to teach and remind.  When people attack you it can be because they are let down or upset with you, but more often than not you are just the one they are taking out other frustration on.  A parent could be mad that there kid doesn’t go to church and it is your fault for making the youth group “boring” or “not inviting them”.  This is just like someone who hates their job and comes home and kicks their cat.  Don’t take it personal, you are a shepherd and you may have to absorb some kicks to get to their real life pain.


  1. Wow, I remember Mark when he was just a frantic youth kid and BNYC Junkie. Now he is a grown up pastor dealing with conflict. Welcome to the ranks of “Conflict Dealer-Withers”(thats short for pastor). I am almost seven years into a new pastorate in the South. I am absolutely nauseated by the amount of petty conflict that is still such a daily part of my ministry. Today I wrestled in devotions with this very issue. I attended a simple budget meeting last night which turned into a conflictual discussion about our bylaws and constitution. One side was arguing for more committees and rules and procedures. The ironic thing was that two of the most important people weren’t at the meeting because of “lack of commitment”. One person was proposing more meetings as the solution and, as a pastor, I already struggle with getting people to attend the absolutely essential meetings. It never ends. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Moses seemed to face this same thing.

    Anyhow, below is a link to a Rick Warren devotional on this same topic. It REALLY helped me. ( ) I actually printed it out and hung it above my computer. It is titled, “Quit Trying to Please Everybody”. I must admit, I am an approval junkie. I think most pastors are. It is hard to do what God is leading us to do and not be addicted to the approval of our people at the same time. It is hard to maintain balance. Either you are a wreck because, “someone is mad at you” or you are a cruel dictator who cares nothing for the feelings of the masses (ie “Let them eat cake”.) There is balance. Clearly seek God for his direction in your ministry and kindly, and patiently try to lead the people God has called you to lead. Be willing to apologize and “hold hands” when necessary and keep moving forward. Bad things happen when you camp in valleys’ of discouragement or self pity. Look for the cloud (or pillar of fire) and lead out. Take those that are following to some “place”. Hopefully there will be some good “grass” there for them to eat. Most people don’t know that sheep will starve in a lush valley, because they are simply to dumb to move on when the grass is gone. That is why they need shepherds. They usually don’t want to leave. That is why we have a staff…and a rod. I will let you figure out what they are for

    I also recommend Tale of Three Kings.

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