Podcast Episode #045

Subscribe via iTunes • Subscribe via RSS 

If you are a leader, you will be criticized. If you are not being criticized, you are probably not a leader. The issue is not whether or not you will be the subject of criticism; the greater issue is how you should respond.

As a general rule, leaders should respond to criticism. I do my best to do so, or at that very least, ask someone in my organization to respond. Critics, more often than not, deserve a response. They need to hear from the leader who can give them his or her perspective. They need to hear from a leader in the event the response can be an opportunity for reconciliation.

But there are times when leaders should not respond to critics. In this episode, Jonathan and I list four such reasons. We also discuss two instances in which I never respond to a critic.

Episode Sponsor

This week’s podcast is brought to you by Pastors Today. This weekly newsletter provides pastors with resources and information from around the web written specifically for pastors. For more information and to subscribe, visit


If you have a question you would like answered on the show, fill out the form on the podcast page here at If we use your question, you’ll receive a free autographed copy of I Am a Church Member.



  1. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Dr. Rainer is not the only one who has struggled with criticism. Whether in an academic setting or in a ministry setting (the two spheres in which I have some personal experience), criticism can be a useful tool that leaders use to sharpen their own perspectives and improve their own performance. More often, however, criticism creates deep wounds in the soul that resist all attempts at treatment—especially for those of us who are a little more thin-skinned than we should be. These practical suggestions about when not to respond to criticism have the potential to save all of us a lot of grief. For my part, I would echo something that Dr. Rainer said in an earlier podcast. I try not to respond to any criticism until I have had the opportunity to process it intellectually and emotionally. And that usually takes at least twenty-four hours. I find that, when I give myself time to cool off, I am less likely to respond to the critic at all, and any response that I do give is more likely to be both reasonable and full of grace.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seven × 6 =