Several years ago I learned a lesson about answering critics. I had just finished leading worship for a big event that had taken a huge amount of my emotional and physical emotional energy, the better part of six months to plan and execute, and a significant amount of ministry capital, when a letter arrived in my mailbox (an actual letter, in my actual mailbox) addressed to (you guessed it…) me. As any humble worship leader would do, I hoped that this letter would contain high praise for my incomparable musical and spiritual prowess, list specific ways I was awesome, tell me particularly impressive things I had done, and possibly contain a financial blessing (i.e. “cash”).
I opened it up, ready to receive the flattering praise of an adoring
fan congregation member, and instead read the following (I’ll summarize for time’s sake):
- That was the worst thing ever
- You are the worst worship leader ever
- You have ruined everything
- Did I mention you are the worst worship leader ever?
- Grace and peace to you from God our Father
Let’s just say it wasn’t the glowing letter I was hoping for.
I immediately wrote this person a response that said:
- That was actually the best thing ever
- I’m actually the best worship leader ever
- You’re an idiot
- Did I mention that I’m the best worship leader ever?
- May God’s richest blessings be showered upon you
Then I felt better. And then I crumpled that letter up and threw it away. Then shredded it. Then threw it away again. Then I wiped the servers. Even though the letter was handwritten. It’s never a big deal to wipe servers, apparently, as we all know.
Answering Critics (With the Holy Spirit’s Help)
Then I wrote another letter that basically said:
- Thanks for taking the time to write
- I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the event
- Here’s what I was praying for in the months leading up to the event, and now in the days following
- I hope you’re able to enjoy Jesus even more the next time you come to church
- May God refresh you with joy in him (and I mean it)