When Sheep Bite

Episode 663: Pastors today must deal with unwarranted criticism, sometimes from members of their own flock. Co-hosts Ed Stetzer and Michael Crawford talk with Dean Inserra, church planter and author of The Unsaved Christian, about how pastors can deal constructively with critics in the church.

In This Episode, You’ll Discover:

  • Some of the unique opportunities and challenges of planting a church in your hometown
  • Advice for aspiring pastors in dealing with unwarranted criticism
  • How pastors can get better about handling criticism
  • What gospel truths church planters need to apply when they receive criticism
  • Signs that a criticism could be significant and requires a response
  • What big trends are helping people deal well with disagreement in the church

Helpful Resources:

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Sharable Quotes (#NewChurches):

There are two sides of the same coin. There are people who will only come to City Church because I’m the pastor and we grew up together. There are people who will never come to City Church, because I’m the pastor and maybe I had a crush on their girlfriend in middle school. @Dean Inserra

For the most part, people are the best part of planting but in the life of a church, with all the changes that are going on, we know sheep can bite. Sometimes pastors are the target of criticism. Michael Crawford

I think it’s maybe more prominent than ever because everything is heightened –10 out of 10 right now. If they’re going to be offended, let them be offended by the truth, not anything else. I have to remember that over and over again. @Dean Inserra

You’ve got to have people around you who love you and have your back, because this is a very complicated time to be a pastor. @Dean Inserra

You wonder, is this normal? The answer’s no, not at this level. The culture’s on fire. The world’s on fire. We might be halfway through this cultural convulsion, so we’re going to need reservoirs of resilience. @EdStetzer

You don’t have to get into every issue. You won’t avoid criticism, but you don’t have to draw unnecessary criticism to yourself. @EdStetzer

I tell pastors that the most powerful influence in their life is the voice that no one hears but them. You’re hearing a voice and you have to counter that voice with gospel truths and there needs to be some humility. Michael Crawford

Sometimes you have to have this hard conversation and say, “This is going to be a church where we have conviction but also we have charity. And if charity’s not going to be what drives your critiques, then there’s not a place for it here because we want to see things done out of a love for God and a love for your church.” @Dean Inserra

I’m going to take criticism more seriously from somebody who loves the church and wants the betterment of the church. @EdStetzer

As a pastor, get your people in front of each other and let them talk it out. If they need a mediator, be a mediator. We have everything we need in the local church to deal with disagreements, including learning how to disagree and stay on mission. Michael Crawford

Keep in mind, the high majority of your church is not involved in these things. So why do I let two or three loud people affect everything, when I have 97 people who love their church and their pastor and are on mission and all in? @Dean Inserra


Published May 3, 2022

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