Every leader wants progress. I’ve talked to too many pastors that feel stuck and would do anything to move forward. When moments of new growth and new life happen, the forward momentum feels exciting in a way nothing else does.
And then, some very underestimated, but all too common, pains set in. These are the pains of progress, and every leader must be prepared to face them as things move forward.
To underestimate the pains of progress is to get stuck all over again.
Let’s look at the common pains that leaders experience as things in their world move forward. Today we’ll start with one that’s all too common . . .
The Pain of Criticism Criticism is part of every leader’s life. Every person who steps out to do something worthwhile in life will experience some form of this.
As Christ followers, we experience criticism from family or at work. Young people who step out to serve God publicly will hear criticism from friends.
Leaders will always hear the voice of those who would do things differently, or disagree with their decisions.
Pastors continually hear what church members do or don’t like about the church or how the church could be better.
Leadership is vulnerable to criticism, and while we will always hear it, we must learn to guard the condition of our hearts when it shows its head. The art of leadership is to develop a thick skin while keeping a soft and humble heart. This is no easy task especially in the face of criticism.
We must also stand guard, not letting a critical spirit enter the culture of the church. The apostle Paul often saved his harshest words not for those who disagreed with him but for those who tried to cause division in the church. The truth is—for every person who will criticize you, there are many more who are with you (sometimes silently). Learn to build on them and not around the voice of your critic. The critic will always be with you but will not build with you. It’s time we hear a different voice.
What voices have you been listening to that you need to silence in your heart? And who is with you that will build with you?