Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Nevertheless, I Have This Against You

Revelation 2:20

Nevertheless, I have this against you:

Pastors are called to serve God (as are we all). Yet – most pastors also serve a congregation of between 20 and 1,000 or more people.

After 40 plus years of serving God and congregations and countless years of training and several degrees – I still don’t always hit the nail on the head in everything I do. I admit that I make mistakes or miss things from time to time. I have even asked the SPRC committee and even the entire congregation to help me see where I fall short in serving the congregation as pastor. I would like to take the space of this article to share some insights as how best to go about that process. How to best critique your pastor (or anyone).

Critiquing people is an art. The old adage that you can get more flies with honey than vinegar is very true. The way we critique a person or an event is almost as important as what we have to say in our critique. If the person/group being critiqued won’t receive the information because of how it is offered – then it hasn’t done any good.

A great example is found in Revelation as God critiqued the seven churches. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Revelation 2:18-20 – To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.  I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you:

The person doing the critiquing identified His credentials for making such a critique – praised the one being critiqued – and then got into the critique. We don’t always follow such a godly method, now do we? Over the years I have had several persons in the congregations I have served feel the need to critique me on some aspect of my job. Some have critiqued the way I dress – or the amount of hair on my face – or head – the hours I keep – the behavior of my children – my sermons (content – length – purpose – etc.) – and more.

I have asked for critique over the years – always wanting to learn – grow – and reach the people I am called to serve. Yet there is a way to critique that will have a positive impact and a way that will lead the hearer to the delete button quickly. Let me repeat that my staff and I are always open to ideas and helpful hints. What most people don’t take kindly to are people who can’t express themselves without belittling the one they are addressing. I have been critiqued with both positive and negative critiques over the years. I can tell you that the negative approach often makes me more concerned with the messenger. This is never the approach that should be taken. You want the message to stand out – not leave the person hearing your critique to wonder what the messenger’s motive was in sharing. It should be very clear that the message is being shared in love. That the intended purpose is to ask a question or give some
insight. And that we – the messenger – are open to a clear explanation of the issue at hand. Maybe – just maybe – the messenger giving the critique was missing something?

At times valid points are made in critiques that never get heard because of the manner in which we offer the critique. After all – our effort is to help the hearer of the critique – not beat them into submission! Right?

Any thoughts dear readers?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way!

P.S. – Happy Birthday to my favorite brother – Tim.

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May 11, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , ,

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