Leadership = Criticism
I am so sorry that this is true. Every leader knows that this is true. Jesus experienced it (can you think of some of the things He was criticized for, and how He responded?). Unfortunately criticism can feel deflating, demoralizing or worse. Even just the fear of criticism can cause leaders to stop leading. Leaders, we walk a fine line where falling one way is to choose to accept all criticism (which leads to unhealthy leadership), and falling the other is to reject criticism (self-protectionism, which will keep you from growing as a leader). The healthy leader has to learn to walk the fine line of discerning truth.
Question: leaders, how do we discern which criticisms are legitimate and can help us grow as individuals, and which criticisms we should not allow to weasel into our minds, hearts or souls?
I have been accused over the years of being too theologically conservative and too liberal; too tribal and not Wesleyan enough; too long winded and too brief; too light and too intense; too forthright and too soft; too quiet and too loud… Who is right? How do I process criticism and affirming words? I readily accept all the good words, and I assume those people are Godly and have discerned righteously! But truthfully should I not equally discern what good words are true? Brene Brown in her very good book “Dare to Lead” (leaders this book is worthy of a discussion in networks or mentoring group), states that critics who have much to say from the “bleachers” are not allowed a vote! Leaders must narrow their receptivity to critics who are actually in the “arena”! For instance, I was once criticized for not regularly clearly articulating a “Gospel presentation” which “must” include references to hell. This critic was quite forceful about his view. Was his criticism legitimate? Here is a filter to help both you and I process criticism:
- Not alone: I know that it can be embarrassing and the old shame inner voices can exploit these times (as can satan), but Godly friends, Regional Coaches, National Leadership Team, your cabinet / board, accountability partner, small group, and of course your spouse all should be ready to hear and help you process what is true and untrue. While the sky is still blue in your world identify people who you will trust and approach when the criticism comes;
- Prayer: If the confrontation is in person then pray Nehemiah-type “breath prayers”. Something like, “Lord protect me from not being able to receive or hear truth, and protect me from untruth.” If the criticism is a voice message or email, take time to prepare your heart (remember ‘not alone’). What is a good “heart preparation” prayer?
- Scripture: Careful here my friends as you don’t want to get into a Bible-verse-throwing contest. But keep the Word open and ready as you process the criticism. I recommend that you have your small group or accountability partner help with this;
- No anonymous criticisms should be read or accepted;
- Who is the critic?
Is this someone whose lifestyle and ministry reflect the love and power of God?
Is this person in the “bleachers”, and loves to take shots from the sidelines?
Do not allow yourself to write critics off without other Godly input in this particular situation. I mean those helping me process this need to check me on this: “Well I am not hearing those 16 people because most of them are Leaf fans – what do they know?!”
Every risk will result in criticism. Expect it. Process the criticism well (not alone) so to discern if the risk was good or not. Have God-courage Church and take faith-risks!
This weekend we celebrated the ordination of Rev. Dr. James Pedlar. He is a bi-vocational pastor: a professor at Tyndale and a pastor at Wesley Chapel. It is always a special moment when ordained colleagues surround the ordinand in order to lay hands on them to commission, bless and welcome them into ordained ministry.
Church Health Thursdays – Things Rarely Drift Towards Good Healthy Things: https://fmcic.ca/things-rarely-drift-towards-good-healthy-things/
News & Stories Blog – Building Bridges into the Community with Robotics: https://fmcic.ca/building-bridges-into-the-community-with-robotics/
the conneXion – a Free Methodist theology blog: 3 Minute Theology 2.5: Knowing the Bible Inside Out: https://fmcic.ca/3-minute-theology-2-5-knowing-the-bible-inside-out/
New Leaf Network: Ep 70 – the Neighbourhood Series – Erinn Oxford: https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/podcast/ep-70-the-neighbourhood-series-erinn-oxford/
– Rev. Kim Henderson – appointed Lead Pastor at Caistor Centre FMC, Caistor Centre, ON, effective September 23
– Rev. Randy MacDonald, Cranbrook, BC – Released for Service Beyond Denomination – BC Regional Manager – Billy Graham Evangelistic Associate of Canada,
effective September 26
– Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON – in transition
– Rev. Vic Stonehouse (retired Ordained Minister, Courtice, ON) and Rev. Brent Russett (Lead Pastor at Asbury FMC, Perth, ON) appointed as Network Mentors,
effective September 10
– Mathew Guevarra has been employed as the Lead Pastor at New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON, effective November 1, 2019.
Ordination and Commissioning Services
None at this time
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above
Lay Ministers tracking for credentialed ministry and those transferring ordination credentials into the FMCiC need to take the following two courses for full credit – and if possible, the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology.
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
November 1-3, 2019 – Northview Community Church, Regina, SK
October 25-27, 2019 – Holt Free Methodist Church, Mount Albert, Ontario
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Ministerial Candidates tracking for Commissioned or Ordained Minister are required to take the following two courses for full credit. Those who are already commissioned or ordained are required to either audit these two courses for 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) each or take the two courses and complete the assignments for 3 CEUs each.
Culture and the Missional Church:
Western Canada course starts October 7 (deadline to register – October 1)
Part One: Oct 7-31 – advance online engagement
Part Two: Nov 1-2 – two-day in-person class at Lakeview Free Methodist Church, Saskatoon, SK
Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course (FRENCH) – start date – TBA
6-week online course (ENGLISH) – start date – TBA
(*locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early!)
2019 SCHOLARSHIPS https://fmcic.ca/scholarships/
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the Leadership Scholarship Plan (LSP) for any courses taken during either the summer and/or the fall semesters of 2019. The 2019 application forms and instructions are now available to download from the link above.
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during 2019 – apply online from the link above
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report Continuing Education Units (CEUs) acquired during each year. Check the link above for information on CEUs, the report form and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.
Note: For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences, add 6 hours of CEU credit when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Hampton FMC, Saskatoon, SK
Church Profiles available
Contact Susan DePlanché in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 289-228-1225 (deadline to apply in brackets)
Athens FMC, Athens, ON – deadline to apply – October 21
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Susan in the Leadership Development Office [[email protected] or 289-228-1225] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Campbellford Free Methodist Church, Campbellford, ON
Crossroads FMC, Salmon Arm, BC (Vern Frudd – Interim Pastor)
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON
Smiths Falls FMC, Smiths Falls, ON (Rev. Aaron Birtch – Transition Pastor)
The Journey (a FM church plant), Ridgeway, ON
Youth Pastor – Malvern Methodist