Do you mind if I give you some feedback? I hated that question for the longest time. It’s not that I didn’t want things in my ministry to change, I just didn’t want someone to point out my flaws.
Receiving feedback is hard. It can feel patronizing, critical and make you feel vulnerable. Anytime anyone offered any little bit of wisdom I would shut it down, and get defensive. What followed?
Nothing would change except I had less people who wanted to work with me. A close minded leader is the quickest way to destroying a ministry. I had to overcome the defensive feelings and recognize three truths:
TRUTH #1: IT’S NOT HELPFUL TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Giving feedback without coming off accusatory is a skill that not everyone possesses. Combine that reality with your insecurity and feedback is emotional torture.
If you take it personally you’ll never see it as an opportunity to improve what it is you are doing. Diffuse the emotion by listening objectively. If you have to thank God for bringing this information to your attention.
TRUTH #2: I DON’T HAVE TO TAKE EVERYTHING THAT’S OFFERED
One of the reasons I was so reluctant to take any advice was because I felt pressure to take it all. The reality is that not all feedback is good feedback. Instead of adapting an all in look at:
What’s True and What’s Helpful
And then discard the rest. Again, listen to the feedback, process it by sharing it with someone you trust or write it down. Bring it to prayer and then decide what you will do with the information.
TRUTH #3: GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SPEAKING INTO YOUR LIFE
It’s easy to dismiss the advice of someone who has little to no experience in ministry. Before you shut them down look at what they have to offer.
Get to know the people who are giving you feedback. You might find that they have expertise in areas that are helpful to what you do. Someone who works in:
- Restaurants could give you advice on hospitality.
- Finances could assist you with your budget.
- Retail could help with customer assistance.
Different perspectives will lead you to a well rounded ministry. You’ll be able to tackle the same old problems with new insight.
People will critique, and criticize what you do. Fortunately, it’s not all negative and even if it is it can help you. Take the time to breathe, listen and see it as an opportunity from God to strengthen what you are doing. In the end you’ll be better for it.
Question: What’s a piece of advice that has helped you change the way you do ministry? You can leave a comment by clicking here.