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Effective management of criticism in pastoral ministry – Part 2



The four examples of criticism considered so far can be categorised into constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Jethro, Aquila and Pricilla’s criticisms fall under constructive criticism, while that of Korah, Miriam and Aaron falls under destructive criticism. The method of criticism used by Jethro, Aquila and Pricilla are the same. They did not criticise their associate in the public or in an offensive manner.

Rather, they created a conducive atmosphere, quiet and calm to express their opinions. They identified the problem, raised it with the person concerned and gave solution. Their intention was to give empowerment. At the end of the day, they attracted God’s blessings, progress, unity and happiness. Korah, Miriam, and Aaron spotted what they considered a problem, murmured about it, spoke rudely to Moses and ended up not giving a solution. Their method of criticism gave birth to God’s judgment, setback, disunity and sadness.

The last example is the criticism that Apostle Peter got from fellow leaders after he visited Cornelius. Peter’s case is a replica of today’s church committee and her pattern of criticising Pastors. Acts 11:1-18 shows how Peter was criticised for doing God’s will. The under-listed points are hereby noted for our consideration.
• Peter was a leader.
• It was God that sent him on a mission.
• He did not go alone, he went with six brethren.
• He was criticised by the council (leadership) for associating with gentiles.
• He did not get annoyed but patiently and humbly explained the true story.
• He did not bear grudge against anybody for accusing him wrongly. We must learn to separate philosophy from personality. That our philosophy doesn’t agree should not affect our interpersonal relationship (avoid personality clash). That someone does not support your position does not mean he or she hates your person. Opposition simply means “standing on the opposite position of one’s position”.
• He asked the six brethren who went with him to bear witness to his story.
• The entire council believed his story and moved ahead.
• The council (leadership) did not look the other way because it was Peter. They subjected him to the same scrutiny, as they would have done to others without favouritism.

4.0 Areas Of Criticism In The Pastoral Ministry
The under-listed are possible areas a pastor may face criticism:
• Sermon delivery
• Leadership style
• Relationship with family, church leaders and members
• Relationship with the opposite sex
• Finance and materialism

Sermon Delivery
Many sermons with good content are less effective than they could be because of poor delivery. Once the sermon is prepared, the preacher’s work is not yet completed. Additional effort must be expended to think of ways to deliver that sermon, so that it catches the congregation’s attention. The pastor’s inability to achieve this can attract criticism. Brian Hedges says, “The way a pastor presents his sermon can either attract commendation or condemnation. Comments such as pastor’s preaching is too intellectual or pastor’s preaching isn’t deep enough or pastor’s preaching is centred on money, among others, are some forms of criticism.” (6)

Leadership Style
A pastor’s leadership style entails how he provides direction, implements plan, and motivates the congregation.
Contact: United Evangelical Church, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt.

The pastor’s intellectual capacity helps him to conceptualise solutions and to acquire knowledge to do the job. Pastors are at liberty to choose their leadership style, depending on the nature of their job and the congregation they are leading. Robyn Benincasa says, “Great leaders choose their leadership style like a golfer chooses his or her club, with a calculated analysis of the matter at hand, the end goal, and the best tool for the job” (1). Sometimes, pastors get criticised for their leadership style by either the members or church elders.

Relationship With Family, Church Leaders And Members
The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary explains the term relationship as “the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc. talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other” (984). The way a Pastor behaves toward his wife, children, church leaders and members can become a subject of criticism.

Relationship With The Opposite Sex
The issue of immorality has become a huge problem in the Pastoral Ministry. The ministry of some pastors has come to an abrupt end as a result of poor management in relating with the opposite sex. A pastor who is careless as to how he visits the opposite sex, when he does such visitation and the frequency of the visit is subject to criticism.

Finance And Materialism
Mismanagement of church money by the pastor gives rise to criticism. A greedy pastor easily falls into the temptation of embezzlement.
Contact: United Evangelical Church, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt.

In this article:
Justice A. Amego
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