Part 3 of Series


     Pastoral ministry is a public and high-profile profession.  Given the general and often disrespectful critical spirit of culture, pastors increasingly face criticism from members of their congregation and even the community.  Criticism–both undeserved and deserved–inflicts pain and even wounds the recipient.  Unfortunately, criticism cannot simply be ignored or it will introduce a toxicity into your ministry that can eat away at your effectiveness as a leader and you heart as a person.


Here are some thoughts on how a pastor can deal with criticism.  It starts with a personal inventory.  We all know the biblical counsel on conflict. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry …” (James 1:19)

1. Deal with it first PERSONALLY.  I am not suggesting that you simply buy into the criticism but take inventory.  Is this a interpersonal matter?  Is there a problem between you and the critic?

2. Engage in a REALITY CHECK.  Is there any validity to the criticism?  Is this criticism that is a matter of great importance to the ministry you lead or is it essentially a small matter–perhaps even petty in the big scheme of things?  Have you listened carefully to the critic and have a sense of what is motivating it.

3. Take stock of your ATTITUDE.  How is my emotional state of mind, my physical circumstances, my own spiritual strength?

4. Identify your RESOURCES.  What resources  are at my disposal to deal with this criticism constructively and in a God-honoring way.  Have you discussed this with your elders or your accountability partner?  Will you need to go this alone or are there others who will join you in the response?

5. Consider the best STRATEGY.  Should this be handled privately?  Or must it be dealt with publicly?  And if the latter, how will you keep the criticism and the critic of harming others spiritual well-being? How can you respond with spiritual integrity?

And of course, at the beginning, through the assessment, and moving forward PRAY, PRAY, PRAY and I will say it P R A Y !!!!!!!!!

To be continued

Previous posts in this series: THE SIN OF THE CRITICAL SPIRIT



© 2018 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to For all other uses, contact Steve at

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