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The One Person In Your Church That Will Derail You

The Nitpicker

from Seth Godin 
“The pedant (that’s what we call someone who is pedantic, a picker of nits, eager to find the little thing that’s wrong or out of place) is afraid. He’s afraid and he’s projecting his fear on you, the person who did something, who shipped something, who stood up and said, “here, I made this.” 
Without a doubt, when the Beatles played Shea Stadium, Paul was a little out of tune. Without a doubt, the Gettysburg Address had one or two word choice issues. Without a doubt, that restaurant down the street isn’t perfect.
That’s okay. They made something.  
Sure, make it better, by all means put in the time to bring us your best work. But no, of course not, no, the pedant is not our audience, nor is he making as much of a difference as he would like to believe.”
Although Seth wasn't directly addressing pastors or ministry leaders - he might as well have been. As a pastor and ministry leader, I am certain that you, all too often, have to contend with "nitpickers" within your church. They may be in your leadership or they may merely be sitting in the pews.

It is easy to identify these people: 
  • They are the ones who are first to write you that email after your sermon. 
  • They are the ones who always offer their opinion, but rarely ever offer to serve.
  • They seem good at identifying problems but never solutions.
  • They love to focus on the minutia, often times missing the big picture.
  • They are the people you cringe at the thought of talking to because they seem to only offer criticism and yet never a praise.
Nitpickers will try to distract, discourage and derail you. But don't be discouraged. Nitpickers will always be there in your church and ministry. You can't satisfy all their concerns or placate their criticisms. All you can do is move forward in love and faithfulness, create, work hard and do your best - and believe in the gospel for your identity and security. Certainly you can find a kernel of truth and help in what a nitpicker may have to offer, but don't get bogged or paralyzed with their nitpicking, fault-finding and criticism.

If you try to please or accommodate the nitpickers, you will end up moving nowhere fast - in your both your life and your ministry.

(thanks to Phil for a heads up on Seth's post)


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