When someone gives you “feedback” about your worship service, how do you feel? Do you wonder, “what business do they have telling me what to do?” Or do you ask yourself, is their response about their personal preference? or is their response a window into the mission field and how NEW people respond to what we insiders are doing?
I recently did a consultation in which I was met with downright hostility. The people had read my book, Building Worship Bridges, before I got there. They hated it! It was very difficult for me to resist the temptation to take that personally. I had to ask myself if anything at all that they were saying mattered in light of how one expresses the gospel to the people in their own back yard. In talking with them I realized that they hated the book because they felt exposed by it.
There is a lot of passion associated with worship and church leadership. That’s why we so easily offend. But if you focus on God and your mission, it allows you a little bit of a thicker skin. You learn to hear what matters in what people say. And you learn to hear when someone is telling you how they don’t like what you do because they’re afraid of change. You learn not to pass judement. You learn kindness, compassion and, really, focus.
If there is any way to help that person reframe their “constructive criticism” in light of how they learn to share the gospel with the mission field, find that way. You will grow that unoffendable persona because it’s impossible to help someone else see things anew when you are personally pissed.
I am reminding myself of that as I write these words.