As a pastor, I would say that it is probably normal to receive critics in your ministerial life. It is not normal though, if you keep on receiving critics all the time. It is very certain that we really won’t enjoy when someone send us a letter or a note that is not in favor for us. Thus, here are some tips on how to respond with criticism.
1.Sometimes, the best way to handle criticism is simply to maintain a sense of the ridiculous, which literally means, a sense of humor.
2.Remain determined not to become defensive. It is always better to read the letter twice. Figure it out first what is the real mood of the writer while writing the note.
3.In composing your response, look for even the smallest way to agree with the writer’s points upfront.
4.Thank the individual for signing his or her name.
5.Commend the writer for coming directly to you and not talking behind your back to others. This is very important.
6.Look for the truth in the criticism. Is it accurate or you deserve it?
7.If the letter seems to be written with a gentle spirit, be sure to commend that and respond kindly. Avoid being so defensive.
8.After writing your response, ask a couple of ministry cronies about their opinion on your response. It is always best to ask the opinion of others and to check whether it is too soft, too hard, too sharp, or just right.
9.Pray on things to change in the letter before sending it.
10.Close your letter with a positive comment like, “Thank you for taking time to share your concerns with me.”
11.Always take the high road. Just like someone said, “Never get in a contest of wills with a skunk. Even if you win, you’ll still come out smelling bad.”
Excerpts from “60 Simole Secrets Every Pastor Should Know” by Dave Stone and Rick Rusaw, pp.19-20.