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. In part two of their conversation, John & Jim unpack two more behaviors that help leaders when those they lead attack them
Behavior 1: Get in touch with truth
When parishioners attack. do your best to ask yourself: “Is there any truth to what they said?” When parishioners attack, extract the truth—and forget the rest.
Behavior 2: 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. In those cases, try your best to be understanding.
Behavior 3: Get in touch with your value
In God’s eyes, you’re more valuable than the work you do, and more valuable than what others say about the work you do. That doesn’t give you permission to perform poorly. It just means when the vocal minority screams, remember your value doesn’t come from their opinion of you.
We’ve observed that people tend to be fickle. If that’s true, why would we put our sense of value in other people’s hands? Legitimate and lasting value is found in a real relationship with Jesus, who never changes. He is the exact opposite of fickle.
Behavior 4: Get in touch with reality
The New Testament church struggled periodically with people who attacked its leaders. If these godly pioneers faced the vocal minority, why do we think we’re exempt?
We’re not excusing poor parishioner behavior. Nor suggesting we shouldn’t deal with it promptly and pastorally, especially if these attackers have influence. We’re simply encouraging you to expect criticism from time to time so when it happens, you won’t be shell-shocked.
When parishioners attack, let these four behaviors – get in touch with truth, with why, with your value, and with reality – guide your response.