Category Archives: criticism

Biblical Church Growth

The New Testament Church set the Precedent for Church Growth

In my years of ministry I have frequently met church attenders and pastors of smaller churches who are content with the size of their church, and have no interest in expanding.  Some to the point of being anti-church growth. And while I do not promote seeking church growth for church growth sake, true growth that comes from reaching the community for Christ is clearly demonstrated in the New Testament church.  Below is an article from Brian Tubbs found at http://protestantism.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_biblical_church_growth , that clearly demonstrates this principle.

What Is Biblical Church Growth?

Lessons from the Life of Christ and the Book of Acts
Jan 22, 2008 Brian Tubbs

There are numerous books, articles, videos, and audios available today on the subject of church growth. Pastors and church leaders are bombarded with a large array of resources and models that promise “rapid” church growth, “easy” church growth, “massive” church growth, and the like. How should a pastor and church sort through church growth ideas and church growth models? Should pastors and churches even be concerned with church growth?

Jesus Drew Crowds

A historical look at the birth of Christianity should make something pretty clear: Jesus drew crowds. It is hard to justify a ‘small church’ mentality when looking at the example of Jesus. Of course, Jesus did surround himself with a smaller group of devoted followers, with whom he spent the most time. Yet Jesus didn’t remain in this small group setting. On the contrary, he continually reached out — speaking with and ministering to as many people as he could in Judeo-Palestine.

The Jerusalem Church: From 120 to 3,120

Following the ascension of Jesus, the remaining eleven of his primary disciples and those in Jesus’ extended circle of confidantes and followers gathered together in an “upper room” (Acts 1:12-13) to pray.
When the day of Pentecost came, the writer of Acts records that the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Christ in “tongues of fire” and with a “mighty wind” (Acts 2:1-3). When this incredible and supernatural event happened, it attracted quite a crowd – and gave the apostle Peter a dramatic opportunity to stand up publicly and be counted as a follower of Christ (an opportunity he failed to take on the night of Jesus’ trial).
Following Peter’s sermon, the writer of Acts reports that “about 3,000 souls” were incorporated into the new Jerusalem church – the “church” being the fellowship of believers in and followers of Jesus Christ.

The Spread of Christianity

The remainder of Acts lays out the rapid spread of Christianity from Jerusalem through Judea and Samaria and into the Graeco-Roman world. This spread was powered by Jesus’ primary disciples, especially Peter and John, and Jesus’ half-brother, James, who became the leader of the Jerusalem church. And then came Paul, the most prolific pen of the first century Christian community and one of the most committed missionaries in the history of Christianity.

Lesson in Growth

The clear lesson from the life of Christ and the book of Acts (a lesson fueled by the epistles) is that the church is to be constantly expanding – constantly on the move. And that its impact should not be restricted to formal church services, but rather to the community itself, even to the point of reaching families “house to house.”
A local church that withdraws into closed-door legalism, “Comfort Zone” complacency, or elitist judgmentalism is a church outside of God’s will. This is not to suggest that a church shouldn’t stand for truth or practice sound doctrine. Both are clearly part of God’s mandate for the church.
The biblical model for a church is a church that actively and passionately ministers to both the physical and spiritual needs of those around it — especially, of course, the spiritual needs. Such a church should desire to grow — not for its own glory or satisfaction, but because of its love for God and the people within its reach.
So, how is your church doing?

Until Next Time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.  Acts 2:46 – 47 (NIV)

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Tips for coping with critical people Part – 2

The Wright Brothers faced criticism throughout their experiment in aviation

The Wright Brothers faced criticism throughout their experiment in aviation

This week we continue with part two of an article I call “Tips for coping with critical people.”  We must realize that within any occupation or position of leadership criticism will always follow you.  Sometimes the criticism is constructive and meant to help you become a higher quality leader or individual.  Other times the criticism is meant to hurt you and is motivated by a person of insecurity or envy.  Either way you have to be prepared to handle criticism properly, because there is no escaping it!

In my book “In Search of Higher Ground” I point out that the Wright Brothers faced criticism throughout their experiment in aviation.  For most people it was a crazy notion that someone could fly.  People actually thought that the human body could not withstand going faster then 100 m.p.h.  The Wright Brothers obviously succeeded and today we all reap the benefits of their ability to overcome criticism.

Before I give you a few more tips on dealing with criticism, let’s review the points in last week’s article of Leadership Matters:

Face the critic within (Take a look inside of yourself and discover the areas where you are critical)
Don’t tune them out  (Be sure to listen and decide what could be helpful)
Filter the amount you let in (Be careful to allow only certain voices to have a place in your life)
Host a complaint session (If you have someone who continues to criticize, host a meeting with them and talk it out)

Here are a few more “Tips for coping with critical people”

1)  Put things in perspective
The hard part of living with critics is that we care more about what they say then we would like to admit.  One way to help you avoid letting the criticism beat you up is to keep it in the proper perspective.  Is what they are saying true?  Are they only saying it because they are envious or insecure?  Keep in mind the source of the information and allow what is good to impact you and what is bad, you throw it out.

2)  Beware of the critic’s triangle
Most critics complain to several people before they complain to you.  Much like gossips, they review your performance in front of your colleagues when you are not present.  You can detect these kinds of critics because they make remarks about others when they are with you.  You may be tempted to let down your guard because these people make your feel as if you are one of their dearest confidants.  When you are surrounded by this kind of critic, be careful, they will subtly and carefully hurt you in more ways then one!

3) Don’t let criticism kill your dreams
Perhaps the deadliest poison to your dreams is criticism.  We allow what people say to dictate our attitude toward our own aspirations.  Think of Walt Disney, he had a dream to create a theme park called “Disneyland.”  He was rejected by over 450 lending institutions and many criticized his ideas saying “it will never work Walt, give it up.”  He never allowed the critic to kill his dream and now millions have benefited from his ability to overcome the critic.  Stay focused on your dream and don’t allow the critic to slow you down!

Criticism can be a wonderful tool in shaping your potential or it can be a destructive tool destroying your soul.  Be careful in dealing with criticism, learn from it and move on, but don’t ever let it slow you down!

Until Next Time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“If you don’t have a few people laughing at your dreams,
it may just mean your not dreaming big enough.”
Dale Galloway

Tips for coping with critical people – Part 1

Learning to cope with criticism

Learning to cope with criticism

One of the most difficult challenges facing leaders is learning to cope with criticism.  The greater your influence grows the greater the criticism grows.  If you’re going to be a mover and a shaker, if you’re going to attempt great things, if you’re going to deal with people at any level you will, without a doubt, face criticism.

With the reality of the inevitable critic it would be to every leader’s advantage to discover ways to cope with criticism.  If you do not discover a method for handling criticism then you are destined to continually struggle as people serve you their hard hits of judgment.  No matter how much we would like to believe in our personal confidence we are all vulnerable to criticism and we allow it to become a stronghold in our life.

Here are some ways to help you in coping with critical people:

1)  Face the critic within
A team of sociologists studied a small community and discovered that each of them admit to criticizing those around them.  The same group of people interviewed, were appalled to discover that they themselves were often criticized by those closest to them.  The result of the study was that each person must realize they are being criticized but more importantly they themselves are critical about others.  This is a hard reality!  Each one of us, criticize to some degree.  The first step in overcoming the critics around you is to face the critic with in you.  Admit your problem and then begin correcting it and you will be on a road to coping with the hardest of critics.

2)  Don’t tune them out
Your critics may have something valuable to say, they may have some truth behind their complaint.  E. Stanley Jones was quoted as saying “Critics are the unpaid watchmen of my soul.”    Criticism can help you, if you will take less time being offended and more time being creative and discover the hidden gems behind the hurtful comment.  However, you must be smart enough to know when someone’s criticism is meant to hurt you and has no truth in it.  These are the ones that you must tune out!  Remember their criticisms say more about them than about you.

3)  Filter the amount you let in
It is easy to focus ourselves on the one negative comment and ignore the ninety nine positive comments.  I am guilty of this myself!  I will step off a stage, after making a presentation, have a hundred people tell me how wonderful it was, but when one person makes a negative comment I begin to focus all my energies on figuring out why this person doesn’t like me.  It is a horrible trap to fall into.  Be careful not to allow one person to dominate your time and energy because of their critical spirit.  Know what you need to listen to and know what you need to tune out.
4)  Host a complaint session
If you have someone who is continually criticizing you, set up an appointment with the person.  Go into the meeting with humility and simply say “I know you have some concerns about me and I wanted to give you an opportunity to share them one on one.”  Make sure in the meeting to limit their time to complain.  Don’t let it turn into a bashing session on you.  After they have shared their concerns, address them confidently and humbly.  Ask the person at the end of the meeting to work with you, by not sharing these complaints to others, but by partnering with you to overcome the possible problem.

Next time, I will continue giving you practical ideas for coping with critical people.  Work on the four ideas I gave you with those critics that surround you.  If you’re a leader then you have no choice but to discover ways to cope with the inevitable criticism.  Learn how to deal with it now and it will save you a lot of personal heartache.

Until next time,

Chris

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:

“In the end, criticism discredits the critic.”
Denny Duron