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Effective management of criticism in pastoral ministry – Part 3



Effective Management of Criticism in Pastoral Ministry has been defined 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.

To manage criticism effectively in the pastoral ministry, this research work propounds two methods coined from the popular saying “prevention is better than cure.” These are: Preventive Method of Managing Criticism; Curative Method of Managing Criticism and Preventive Method of Managing Criticism.

It is noteworthy to say that on a general note, criticism cannot be prevented by a pastor. This is because people react to things differently. These reactions are based on many factors such as one’s upbringing, discipline, exposure and temperament, among others. Nonetheless, there are certain criticisms that can be avoided by the pastor, if he or she uses the preventive management of criticism approach.


The preventive method of managing criticism lays emphasis on being proactive. This is the tendency of identifying the areas where criticism abounds. Beyond identifying such areas, the pastor puts in place deliberate measures to avoid pitfalls that will give rise to criticism. A good example of an area where criticism looms in pastoral ministry is the pastor’s relationship with the opposite sex. To prevent criticism in the aforementioned area, the pastor seeks to provide answers to the following questions:
• Has any pastor been criticised in his or her relationship with the opposite sex in the past?
• What was the nature of the criticism?
• Could he have avoided such criticism if careful enough?
• What measure could have been taken to avoid such criticism?
• Why were the measures not put in place by the pastor?
• What impact has the criticism created in the pastor’s life, family and the ministry?

A sincere answer to the above questions with a determination to make a difference will go a long way in helping a pastor avoid the temptation of sexual immorality in his or her, as well as preventing criticism in this regard and in other areas.Jesus used the preventive method of managing criticism in His pastoral ministry. He used the principle of “GOING IN TWOS” as a measure to avoid criticism in certain areas of His ministry. The attitude of working and leading in the company of people is what is referred to as “going in twos.” Jesus did not do anything in isolation. He always had His disciples with Him, except on few occasions where He communed alone with God in prayers (Mark 1:35).

Jesus did not visit the opposite sex alone, even though He was and is the Creator (Luke 10:1, 38-39). He was careful not to give room for suspicion. He laboured among the opposite sex throughout His ministry and never defiled any. He had the above principle to His advantage. He was alone with the woman of Samaria but in the open, and not in the dark and that was because His disciples left Him to get something to eat (John 4:3-8). Jesus sent His disciples in “twos” when they went for evangelism following the same principle. This principle is relevant in the following ways (Ecclesiastes. 4:9-10):
• For the purpose of discipleship.
• To forestall a fall.
• To have a better input in any circumstance.
• To have a good witness in the face of controversy.
• For the purpose of accountability.
5.2 Curative Method Of Managing Criticism

This method is adopted where a case of criticism has been established. The pastor is now on the hot seat. What should he do in the face of criticism and how should he go about bringing a solution to the problem on ground? This is the goal of the curative method of managing criticism. This approach suggests an honest assessment of the situation by the pastor involved. By honest assessment, the pastor is expected to “slow down and process the criticism, sleep on it, and think about what was said” (Novickov 3). Criticism is a form of feedback, as it gives you the privilege of knowing what people think and feel about you and your actions. So, taking time to process the criticism will do the Pastor a great good. Novickov suggests the following four steps as a way to process criticism.
• Determine the Purpose of the Criticism
• Analyse the Validity of the Criticism
• Define the Corrective Action
• Learn from the Critique (5).

From the biblical perspectives and godly examples seen so far, this research work considers the following as essential steps in the curative method of managing criticism.
• Calling on God
• Calmness
• Counsel
Contact: United Evangelical Church, Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt.


In this article:
Justice A. Amego
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