God's Geek

Reflections and random thoughts of a geeky youth worker in North London...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dangerous and Destructive

Right, I am about to make a generalisation that may be incredibly sweeping and is based largely on my own experience...

I think that one of the most destructive things amongst Christians is anonymous criticism. There's been a number of times that I have been told that someone or some people are unhappy about soemthing that I've been involved with, but i Hear through a third person. I find it really hard to process this type of criticism - I have no way to clarify what has been said or offer any form of explanation/apology where necessary. Instead, I am left with a horrid feeling that someone is upset without having any way to move forward. I am pretty sure that I am the same as others in that I don't like being criticised, even if it is ultimately beneficial. But I do see that it is sometimes very necessary even if it is hard to hear. I would like to think that I am approachable, and wish people would speak to me directly.

I know that I can't make people do that, so instead, I am going to try the following things:
I'll try to be as open, honest and loving with others as possible.
If someone starts telling me what others think, I'll politely ask if they would ask the people involved to come directly to me.
I'll keep praying to God so that I don't take things so personally and don't hold on to things so tightly.

Any more tips??


OpenID hutchblog.com said...

I share your frustration. Not sure there is ever a way to deal well with these things as they are often so personal.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Sarah Brush said...

My first vicar told me to ignore all anonymous criticism as it was so often someone trying to complain with more weight to their argument or making it sound less like they were the only ones who think that way. His suggestion was to confront it rather directly by not only asking the person citing the criticism to refer the people to him but asking that person to NAME them. Of course if someone is saying "a lot of people think we need to change the youth work programme" there are two options. If it really is a group of "several people" then meeting with that group would be a plan but if they're meaning _I_ "think we need to change the youth work programme" then you may have to work through what that person needs in response. What is the real issue at hand? See Doug Fields advice on dealing with conflict in his "Your First two year's in Youth Ministry" for some really good reflective questions to ask about the situation.

Hope that helps. See you at greenbelt?

5:36 PM  

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