When Your Pastor Chews You Out

No one, especially my pastor, likes to be caught off guard.  Surprises allow emotions to take over and it causes the situation to grow complex.  When my pastor had to learn from a separate source that I lost money on a fundraiser, he definitely showed and expressed his disappointment.

It was a difficult moment.  One where I wanted to cry, yell and hide.  Instead I just stood there as he chewed me out.  That night I didn’t know how I was going to move on from that moment.  Fortunately, the next day was a new day and it was new beginning.  He and I were able to resolve the situation and move forward.

It’s not easy when your boss chews you out.  Not sure if you are defensive, but fighting back isn’t the way to go.  Maybe you just take it like a sponge, but holding on too long will break you apart.  When you get chewed or called out by your leader the best thing to do is:Slow Down Your Reaction: The initial reaction is to become defensive.  All that will do is shut down any growth from the situation.  To slow it down:

  • Listen and let the other side speak first.  
  • If you do not feel like you can respond without emotion tell them, “I need to process this.”  

When you slow down your reaction to criticism, or feedback you show the other party that you care.  What you do is diffuse any emotions and look at it with practical insight.  Then the conversation becomes constructive.

Honor Their Opinion: When your pastor chews you out it’s easy to think, “Well, what does he know?”  While he might not be an expert in the field it’s important to recognize his:

  • Outside perspective.
  • Wisdom in similar situations.

Thank him for his insight and then take time to reflect on it.  It’s easy to feel like he’s out to get you.  The truth is most leaders want the best for their followers.  Start recognizing it and see the trust build in your relationship.

Seek A Fresh Perspective: Sometimes the criticism does cut too deep.  Whenever in doubt run the situation by a trusted source.  It needs to be someone who will:

  • Validate your feelings.
  • Give constructive feedback on how to address the relationship.

When you have support it’s easier to address the awkwardness that can happen in a heated interchange.  Be open and know you aren’t alone.

Own The Relationship: There will be times when your pastor chews you out, but you if you work on the relationship you can make them less painful.  That means:

  • Keeping short accounts and addressing issues before they fester.
  • Leaving nothing to surprise.

The goal you need between you and leadership is to build trust.  When there is trust situations of failure will not be as tense.  There will be a better understanding of how each person engages in conflict.  And the intentions behind the conversation will be clear.  

I’m not justifying getting chewed out by anyone; therefore, lean in and work at it.  If you can grow together you can take on any situation good or bad.  The more your work on your relationship the better it will be working in your environment.

How else do you handle being chewed out?