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Effective management of criticism in pastoral ministry – Part 1



1.0 Introduction
The world we are living in, to a large extent, prospers on criticism. Every segment, ranging from the media industries to the academic world, advertisement, politics and religion, among others, thrive on criticism. The world is also occupied by people who see things differently. Everybody has his or her views on the issues that unfold in our daily lives. It is important to know that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

At some point in your life, you will be criticised, perhaps in a professional way. Sometimes, it will be difficult to accept, but it all depends on your reaction. You can either use criticism in a positive way to improve, or in a negative way that can lower your self-esteem and cause stress, anger or even aggression.

Everybody who ever passed through this world had his or her share of criticism. Jesus Christ our Saviour and all the fathers of our faith were not spared of criticism. However, they did not allow criticism to falter them, rather, it fostered them.

The aim of this article is to help you know how to harness other people’s views about you for the development and prosperity of your life and ministry, as well as learn how to confront criticism without being confrontational as a pastor.
2.0 Definition Of Terms
2.1 Effective Management

The term “effective” is defined in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary as “producing the result that is wanted or intended; producing a successful result” (Hornby 469).
Management is “the act or skill of dealing with a situation in a successful way” (Hornby 902).

2.2 Criticism
Criticism is “the act of expressing disapproval of somebody or something and opinions about their faults or bad qualities; a statement showing disapproval” (Hornby 348). From this dictionary expression, we can define criticism as a remark or statement made by someone to express what he or she thinks is bad about someone or something.

Criticism, according to SKILLSYOUNEED, is categorised into constructive and destructive criticism.

Constructive criticism is designed to point out your mistakes, but to also show you where and how improvements can be made. Constructive criticism should be viewed as useful feedback that can help you improve yourself rather than put you down.

Destructive criticism offers no help or support for improvement; it simply sets out the problem as seen by the person giving criticism. You can think of it as tending to bring someone down, and making them feel bad, whether this is deliberate or not (3).

2.3 Pastoral Ministry
The Chambers Dictionary defines the term pastoral as anything that “relates to the pastor of a church” (1191).

Ministry is defined in The Chambers Dictionary as “the office, duties, or work of a minister or clergy” (1025).

Pastoral Ministry is hereby defined as the duties of a pastor in a church or local congregation.

From the above explanation, we hereby define “Effective Management of Criticism in Pastoral Ministry” as the act of processing positively and honestly what people feel is wrong with the way a pastor does his or her duties in a local congregation for the maximum benefit of the pastor and the ministry.

3.0 Scriptural Examples Of Criticism
Exodus 18:12-27; Acts 18:24-28; Numbers 16:1-35; Numbers 12:1-15; Acts 11:1 – 18.

The Bible contains the stories of men and women who were involved in different forms of criticism. The above Bible passages give five examples of criticism as listed below.
• Jethro and Moses
• Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos
• The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram against Moses and Aaron
• The criticism of Miriam and Aaron against Moses
• Peter’s visit to the house of Cornelius

In this article:
Rev. Justice A. Amego
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