Our pastoral fellowship (Pastoral Fellowship for Practical Theology) met yesterday and discussed the topic of criticism that pastors regularly face. We discussed this topic through the illustration of “Mudslinging.” Criticism is a lot like mudslinging. Mud is slung, it usually goes “splat” on the pastor’s face, mud becomes messy to clean up, mud can spray others standing around once it is slung, and often that mud gets tracked home with us when we don’t realize it. It was through this working illustration, that we had a very fruitful discussion among the men present. Here were the list of questions asked and the categories for them.
The Pastor’s Soul:
1) How does a pastor typically feel (emotion) after being slung with mud?
2) How is a pastor to deal with those feelings (emotions) or process them in light of the gospel?
The Pastor’s Ministry:
1) How does a pastor deal with the mudslinger?
2) How does a pastor deal with the mud now on his face?
3) How does a pastor care for those standing close who were also splattered with mud?
The Pastor’s Family:
1) How does a pastor recognize when the mud is still present on his face when he comes home?
2) How does a pastor prevent tracking in mud all throughout the house and harm his family with it?
Pastors, I would encourage you to use these questions as we did; merely a template to search your own heart about how you cope when your people criticize you. Do you get sad? Angry? Hurt? What do you do with those feelings and how do you now deal with those throwing the mud and hitting others in the process? What mud do you drag home with you hoping your wife will clean the mud off for you? How we face these questions in a God-honoring way and with a gospel perspective will often determine our level of joy in the work and how long we will last in the ministry.