No matter how great a leader you are, there will always be a few parishioners who don’t like you and feel it’s their calling to criticize you. Both Jim and I could recite multiple instances during our tenures as lead pastors where the vocal minority who thought we weren’t fit for the role blasted us with words. And sometimes out of ignorance, we let their loudness pummel our confidence.
So . . . what can you do when parishioners attack?
Get in touch with truth
Most of the time, parishioner attack has to do with personal preferences, not truth. That being said, try to ask yourself: “Is there any truth to what they said?”
When parishioners attack, extract the truth—and forget the rest.
Get in touch with why
Sometimes parishioners attack out of fear: The fear of change. The fear of losing control. The fear of success even. Some people attack out of ignorance.
But let’s be real: a few churchgoers attack just because they’re mean-spirited people who want to hurt you. Avoid the meanies like the plague. Deal with them only when necessary and refuse to take the bait and get drawn into a battle with them.
When parishioners attack, let these first two behaviors guide your response. You’ll be healthier, happier, and may even find yourself thriving in the face of their criticism. We’ll unpack two more behaviors in episode 156.