Facing the Critics – Part 1
Last week I read a blog post about someone’s recent visit to North Point Community Church in Atlanta, pastored by Andy Stanley. The main theme of the post was the author’s struggle with the “mega church” feel of North Point. For whatever reason, this blogger personally isn’t comfortable with the overall vibe of a “mega church”. Okay, that’s fine, he’s afforded his opinion. I’m not going to be bashing him or any another writer; that’s not who I am, that’s not why I write.
Andy Stanley happens to be one of the men of faith that I look up to the most for insight as a communicator, pastor and leader. North Point is doing some phenomenal ministry in their city and I know that God is working in the hearts and lives of people who attend North Point.
The thing that bothered me was the setup towards the end of the post. It opened up a thread of criticisms that were directed towards North Point, their ministry, and Andy Stanley. As I kept reading through the comments, it was turning into an all-out, major beatdown.
It blew me away though that a ways down the comments thread that Andy Stanley personally entered into the discussion. Probably similar to how I would respond, his first reply was just a tad sarcastic, just a tad. But after the first response broke the ice, he continued to comment and interact with the other posters. I noticed something. He was open and honest and, sarcasm aside, he wasn’t apologetic for North Point. He interacted with some hard-hitting questions and responded in a way that turned the conversation into a positive opportunity to learn together.
If you are doing what God has called you to do, don’t hide from it. Be open. Be honest. Welcome feedback. Prepare for the naysayers. Be preparing now for how to handle the hard questions to come. And pray for God to give you wisdom and the right words to turn negative criticism into positive conversations.