How does your church handle vocal criticism?

In a recent post on, Philip Nation writes about how his church, Two Rivers Church, handled a protest from Westboro Baptist. Here’s an excerpt outlining the five main points of Two Rivers’ reponse:

First, we prepared an answer…Whether speaking to the protestors, counter protestors, or the media, we were prepared to speak about what God is doing in our community.

Second, we told the congregation. One week earlier, Ed told the church we would be picketed and to expect the counter protestors and media to be present as well. But we also made it clear that church members should not engage either side…

Third, we appointed one spokesman for the church. For Sunday, I was the one. If the media wanted to do an interview or get answers to questions, they could talk to the representative from the church. This is normal for how we do things at Two Rivers.

Fourth, show hospitality. One of our staff members recruited several deacons to serve at a Baptist breakfast table: coffee and donuts. It was positioned near the protesters, counter protesters, and media. Anyone was welcome to come to the breakfast table.

Finally, we went on as usual. We gather to worship God in such as way that it bring Him honor and is comprehensible to those who are yet to place their faith in Christ. Two Rivers has become one of the hubs for relief efforts in the wake of the Nashville flood. We have been a command center for Samaritan’s Purse and housed a Christian school while their building is being repaired. Every week, we meet new people by clearing debris and offering grace. The last thing we have time to do is shut down because five people show up with offensive signs.

It can be extremely hard to respond with love when someone criticizes you, and relying on instincts and feelings in the moment often results in a messy situations. I like Two Rivers’ plan because it emphasizes their core value of love and gives the congregation practical steps to follow in order to channel their emotions.

Has your church ever had protesters or encountered vocal criticism? If so, how did you handle it? If not, what do you think of Ed’s advice?

2 Responses to “How does your church handle vocal criticism?”

  • As for the church handling vocal criticism ,,,,I want to submit that in my own church it is a welcom development which has been helping the church to move forward and know the minds of her members bettter.I think any church that negatively reacted to criticism is not ready for a change.There are constructive and destriuctive criticism depending on the angle we look at it.I must say this that adestructive one is usually the best to move the church forward while constructive one has the potential of running down the church.

  • donovan says:

    wow. the bible talks about how wisdom dwells with prudence. wisdom dwells at your church too lol! God bless u fjor your wisdom