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  1. This is a fantastic blog! Everyone within the body of Christ NEEDS to read this! Such truth and wisdom.
    Pastors are a great gift from God – thank you Ps Ronnie Floyd for your input on this topic.

    I totally agree with ‘authentic8’s’ point of vote and I can clearly see what it is they are communicating within their reply, however I also believe that if the congregation can truly and genuinely honor their pastor in every way they are able to according to Word of God; the grace they provide their pastor will be enough to convict them of any wrongdoings or weaknesses they have (alongside the conviction that comes from their relationship with Holy Spirit – that if the pastor is eager to grow as a person and pastor in order to serve the church at greater heights).
    Nevertheless, constructive criticism is needed in order for the pastor to grow and this cannot be done simply from anyone within the church. The pastor does need men and women of God surrounding them who are Holy Spirit led to provide this criticism for them (obviously out of love, honor and the pastor’s and church’s best interest in mind).

    • Thank you for your acknowledgement. I do agree with you on the whole but I do think that anyone in the congregation, rightly motivated by the Spirit, should be permitted to provide criticism to the pastor. Even when it is from those with the wrong spirit it provides an opportunity for the pastor to minister to them in a way they would never have been able to do if the atmosphere had been one in which criticism was explicitly discouraged. This is part of the duty of being a pastor and why it should be reserved for those who have strong character and confidence in God, not their own flesh.

      I wrote some follow-ups to my first comment above which you might find interesting. :-)

      God bless.

  2. “Refuse to criticize them”. I am not sure I can accept this. A confident and wise pastor should be prepared to take, and accept, criticism. However, that criticism should be given in love and directly to the pastor, if you have a problem with them.

    • If anyone wants to doubt my motivation, no, I have never criticised a pastor myself to others or to him directly. I have seen pastors react negatively to criticism from the congregation and the result was that they continued in error until it had consequences.

      My stance is simply what I would adopt if I were a pastor and is one that I try to live out not being a pastor just yet (we all should – there’s no reason you should get away with it if you are a pastor).

      I know being a pastor is a difficult road to travel which is why I say a pastor should be confident in his calling and in God, and humble enough to not let criticism a source of trouble to him. If a pastor accepts that, of course, he is only human, has faults and needs help from others, then the criticism (even the misguided and downright vicious) becomes actually a source of encouragement – knowing that you will be helped to stay humble :) and corrected if you do go down the wrong path. With this attitude, even the wrong kind of criticism is comforting and keeps you close to God.

      Again, if the pastor is on the right path he needs to make sure he stays close to God so as to stay on it and not get knocked off it by wrong criticism. He needs to be open to the right kind of criticism as it could really help him and those under his care one day but shutting your congregation down from criticism will also cut off the right and helpful kind made in love.

    • Authentic8 your posts reek with a lack of accountability on behalf of the layperson. You have placed the pastor as the compliant receiver of criticism whether it is deserved or not while the layperson has no place in error. Your post revealed your lack of pastoral experience “….what I would adopt if I were a pastor”. Since you are not a pastor and have not functioned in that office, you cannot authentically state what you would do. Please accept this as a “kernel” of criticism and it is intended to keep you humble.

      • I take your comment with humility and gratitude but you are wrong for several reasons. The direction of my comment was based on the article and addressed the notion that the layperson should never criticise the pastor. I’ve no doubt that there is ill-intentioned criticism as well as well-intentioned. I have not intimated anywhere that the layperson is always without error (an absurd accusation, frankly). The pastor has every right and responsibility to correct ill-intentioned criticism but that does not mean shut down, ban or refuse to listen to criticism. In fact, how does the pastor correct or guide the misguided layperson if they are not free to speak their minds? Remember, I am not talking about criticism in the wholly negative sense but also in the positive i.e. a helpful suggestion, and I am not talking about gossip behind the pastor’s back (as I previously said). It can also come in the form of valid and God-inspired correction. After all, who were the prophets of old and in the church? Mostly laypeople. The pastor who attempts to shut down criticism reeks of insecurity and lack of confidence and misses an opportunity to minister to people as well as correct what may be genuine, if well-intentioned, errors of their own.

        I have been a home group leader, teacher/preacher of Sunday sermons and a pastoral assistant. Though not a pastor in the sense of maintaining overall responsibility of a local church I would apply the same principles to myself in those roles too (as I did and found it humbling and liberating in a very powerful sense to surrender my self-image to God and to the people I served in that way). Not that there is a reason to believe that one cannot have or express and completely valid opinion on something without having experienced it. Would a pastor not be able to advise a woman or a business man, if he had never run a business? Of course, not.

        Lastly, your final remark about keeping me humble contains the assumption that I am not humble. I suggest (humbly) that you don’t know enough about me nor is there anything in my last comment to make that kind of assumption.

      • It’s helpful for me to add something about the church I initially referred to (which had about 5000 regular members) in which there was a strong culture, much of it coming from the pulpit and preaching, of not criticising the pastor (though it was mostly directed at gossip and back-biting, an element included the pastor complaining about the critical letters he had received privately from the congregation).

        They eventually held a prayer meeting about the low church growth numbers and felt guided by the Lord to commission a research group (staffed by Christians but also working in secular business) to investigate it. As a result of the studies (which included interviews with church members) they implemented, among other changes, a program of regular accountability reports from the leadership to the congregation and explicitly inviting feedback and suggestions from members in the form of anonymous suggestion boxes and an email address for that specific purpose. There was also public repentance by the leadership of having the wrong attitude towards the congregation in the sense of being overly defensive and distant.

        I moved away from the church not long after this was done but I know from reports and the times I have gone back there to visit that this program was credited by the leadership for a major change and improvement in the church’s effectiveness in ministry. The exact same program is still running today 15 years later.

  3. Sonia Pomarca Carreon October 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I absolutely agree with you Pastor. God bless:)