Criticism—we all get it, especially in ministry. Let’s be honest, criticism is hard. It’s tough and it’s exhausting. We don’t always know how to receive or give it in a healthy way.
After reading an article in Christianity Today on Women and Criticism by author and pastor, Mandy Smith, the Women’s Ministry cluster discussed several aspects of criticism, specifically as they affect us as women in leadership. The small online discussion group of women provided a safe place for conversation to flow.
Honest questions arose, such as:
- Am I criticized more because I am a woman in ministry?
- If I’m criticized for being a woman (something I can’t change), what do I do with that? Can I let it go without internalizing it?
- How do I discern if it's "good" criticism or not?
- Do I have someone to help me not only discern the criticism, but to stand with me, and to stand up for me?
Here are several takeaways from the discussion that we wanted to share:
- Women need to be an encouraging, supportive voice for other women, especially young women.
- Women can be hard on other women. Don’t be that negative voice.
- Women need someone to dialogue with; to help determine when things are "not okay."
- Women need a safe and trusted person to talk to and receive advice from, a wise friend/counselor.
- Women need to listen to God’s voice to understand who they are and who God desires them to be.
The group ended on an encouraging note with the words, “It’s good to know that we are not alone. We are a part of this broader community of women in the CRC.”