5 ways you can respond to that anonymous critical letter

Thom Rainer says that there are five ways he sees pastors respond to that nasty anonymous letter:

  1. They quickly dispose of the letters. By far the most common response was to get the letter out of sight as quickly as possible. Many leaders simply do not believe an anonymous critic warrants any attention.
  2. They never see them. A significant number of leaders have assistants who read their mail. They have been instructed to dispose of anonymous letters before the leader sees them. Some give the assistants the latitude to make exceptions if they deem the content really warrants it.
  3. They ask confidants if any of the criticisms have merit. Only about one-fourth of leaders responding take this path. Some say they will go to their spouses first for insight and perspective.
  4. They pray for the critic. Though the number was relatively small, some leaders did take this action. “The critic is obviously angry or hurting,” one leader responded. “The least I can do is to pray for that person.”
  5. They make the criticism public.  A relatively small number of leaders will actually send copies of the criticism to a larger body. They then ask the group for any perspective they can offer.

Which do YOU do?

Or… do you do something totally different?

What’s the weirdest anonymous letter that you’ve received over the years?

Have you ever received on that was totally true and changed the way you lead?

Read more here from Thom.



  • pietrosquared September 4, 2013 Reply

    It depends on the criticism… some are obviously worth ignoring. Some are not.

  • Sharon York September 4, 2013 Reply

    We throw away anonymous letters. If it is not signed we do not read it.

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