You can jump into the larger conversation on the importance of criticism in ministry here.
Criticism hurts and we avoid things that are hard. It is instinctive to avoid it.
You have to fight your instincts.
Keeping a conversation going with someone else to avoid the critic you see in your periphery.
Seek out extra responsibilities with kids or students to avoid the adults.
Close your office door.
Work from home.
Don’t return the email or the voicemail.
It is a sad, pathetic list. And yes I have lived out all of these more than once.
We know how this ends. We avoid the critic until finally when we do have that conversation they have built a portfolio of issues and are all too happy to deliver them without grace. These type of experiences feed into our fear of criticism putting you into a vicious cycle.
Very simply put you cannot avoid criticism.
My first ministry, like every first ministry, had challenges. I inherited problems that I didn’t begin to understand until things started to blow up around me. As they did I retreated and avoided the conflict.
In the moment I believed that the conflict would blow over and the problems would resolve themselves. Incredibly naive to say the least.
When I finally stopped hiding and had the hard conversations I was avoiding I did face more pain and difficulty but I was leading for the first time since I got hired.
Rookie Pastors not only struggle with inherited problems, but they also struggle with establishing themselves as a leader. If you want to earn respect and be seen as a leader accepting criticism is a great way to start.