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Criticism In Ministry
Ministry is a funny thing sometimes.
When I first started Emphasis On Moms - I thought I was doing it out of a love for writing and wanting to help others. Little did I know at the time, that I was being called by God. It wasn't until I went to Belgium in 2005 on a missions trip that I decided to call my Emphasis On Moms newsletter and website a ministry. I made that decision because of my desire to always remind myself why I was doing it - to serve others and to serve God. When I tacked on that word "ministry" - it became a constant reminder to me of where my heart should be. It changed my focus and my direction.
I have been very blessed. I don't always hear from the women I write for - but when I do, it is usually words of encouragement and thankfulness. I am humbled. But once in awhile I will get words of criticism. They are never fun and they always hurt. I pray that I never get a tough skin where someone else's words don't impact my heart.
I have learned a lot of things by being in the platform I am in. I have learned that just because I share my heart, my thoughts, my words -- that it doesn't mean that people can have a "say so" in my life even though people feel they can judge me or criticize me. I am openly vulnerable to attack. And it's not just me. Friends of mine have also been vulnerable to attack as well. They have been questioned about how much time they devote to their families, what their motives are, and more - simply because they give so much of their hearts to what they do.
We need to be careful. It's good to hold others accountable - especially if they are in ministry positions or positions of leadership. But we need to be careful about holding them to a standard that they simply can't ever measure up to. We need to realize how powerful our words are - and that they can be used to encourage and boost up... instead of tearing down.
Most people that I know who are in ministry aren't doing it for money, ambition, fame, or any false sense of grandeur. They are doing it because of a huge heart filled with the need to help, serve, and give to others to make their lives better in some way. It is unfair of us to expect perfection out of them. It is wrong of us to make quick judgments, or expect someone else to follow their calling in a way that WE see as being the only right way to do it. Instead, maybe we should offer up prayer on their behalf and put ourselves in their shoes for a minute to see what it takes to do what they do.
Believe me - the common man or woman in ministry does not need someone else's critical comments to keep them humble. They probably get that daily anyways in their struggle to balance their calling with their family life, in juggling ambition with God's direction, and in following in faith with a lack of monetary (or sometimes verbal) support.
Ultimately, we are accountable to God. Whether you serve or are served - we are accountable for the way we conduct ourselves. It's wise to be cautious when passing judgment on someone else who has obediently given of their heart and time to further God's kingdom. Not only that - but criticism also only separates believers instead of using the opportunity to fall in line and make a great, strong team for the Lord.
We are all only human. Every one of us. Cut those in ministry some slack.... for it can be a lonely spot to be in at times.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
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