Ministry is not for the faint at heart.
Worship ministry is especially susceptible to the whims, suggestions and complaints about style, volume and sound because it’s such a public part of the congregation.
Worship leaders must learn to take criticism well. We must understand that we can always learn something from it. But we must also detach ourselves from it personally.
Frank Staff Conversations:
There is a time when on behalf of the church and for effective kingdom work, we need to get behind closed doors with leaders and critique. Though this needs to be done with trust and love, it needs to be frank and consistent. We need to build a culture for these kinds of conversations on a regular basis.
Even in these settings, worship leaders and staff ministry leaders, in general, need thick skin, able to detach what needs attention from our own value and worth. It’s an issue of “what” more than “worth.”
Here are some other practical ways to have thick skin as a worship leader or ministry leader in general:
Face To Face Is Best
Personal conversations are always best – even if they seem a little harder at first. Do your best to reserve those tough topics or critiques with face to face interaction. If you as a leader receive an email or text that sets a bad tone for your day or week, do your best do the following: 1) take time to reflect and debrief before responding 2) if it’s an important person in your life, set up a face to face meeting 3) continually seek the Lord regarding the difficult words.
You’re Going To Tail Someone – Try Not Let It Be Your Family
You’re going to disappoint someone – try not to let it be your family. This is great advice. No one is going to care if you leave a meeting a little early, but your family will be grateful when you’re home for supper on time! When you say no to an event, you might disappoint someone, but you will be able to spend time at home that evening or weekend with no interruptions. We all know we can’t please everyone – but we keep living as if we can!
Know The Ultimate Goal
Thick skin is easier to maintain when you know your ultimate goal. It’s not to make everyone happy, but to move the church toward a loving relationship with God, following the call to reach the world, starting in your region, with the gospel.
Be Aligned With Your Senior Leadership
Alignment with your pastor is a huge part of making it through the tough criticisms needed for sharpening and growth. When you’re aligned, the conversations can be deeper and the critique more helpful. When others come at you (or at the pastor) you should stand your ground, listen lovingly if needed, and respond well as opposed to reacting.
If Something Is Funky, Engage
We can usually tell when something has gone haywire relationally. if you sense it, engage. Call and talk, set up a meeting. Don’t stew over it, wondering if you said something or did something. Be the first to respond. This takes courage but 99% of the time it works well.