How to handle criticism in church

Ever heard a conversation like this in church?

“I really hate what’s happened at church!”

“Like what?”

“All that horrible guitar nonsense. Those loud chords. Those *horrible* noises from that keyboard thing. And don’t even start me on the miked-up drums!”

Thought so. Sadly, conversations like this go on all the time.

That can be tricky for people like you and I. We like rock music. We like to worship God.

So what’s the problem?

Different people see the world differently

You like rock. I like rock. But that other person – not so much.

Maybe it’s just our style of rock they don’t like. Or maybe – gasp – we  actually are playing it a bit too loud.

Everyone has different tastes. And they are free to express them. That’s not the problem. The problem is it hurts.

And this can make us respond poorly.

We take criticism to heart a bit too much

It’s never easy being criticised.

It’s harder if it has come from a bad place. Harder still when it’s said in a harsh way.

But what makes it worse is this. As a Worshipping Musician, you will probably have a double dose of ‘sensitivity’. Without it, your worship music will be a little flatter and more lifeless than it could be.

The downside of this is that criticism cuts us deeply.

Criticism leaves you feeling a little deflated. A little used and abused. It triggers your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. Either ‘I’m gonna show ‘em’ or ‘I’m outta here’.

So it’s important we calm down, sip a latte, and have a think about what your response should be.

Treat others how you would like them to treat you

The best way to handle criticism in church is with Grace.

Look the person in the eye. Acknowledge their concerns. You can tell them “I’m really sorry that you feel that way; we try really hard to help everyone worship using our music. I’m sorry it’s not your cup of tea. I’ll feed back your comments to the team.”

Ask if there are any specific problems. You might be able to sort out how one particular speaker is pointed, that makes the sound uncomfortably loud in just one or two seats.

Generally though, remember: if you are in a rock worship team, you will get criticism from time to time.

It isn’t easy, being a sensitive person. But you can get past it.

Don’t take it to heart. And to paraphrase St. Paul: “as far as it depends on you, keep the peace”.

And then carry on the good work. Rock on!