There are four core values that Jerry and I have for leaders in our church- humility, holiness, honesty, and honor. To build a culture of honor, we have come up with the following guidelines for speaking about other people, churches, and ministries. We know it is human nature to make quick judgments, and we recognize that many criticisms are meant to discern between right and wrong. However, too often words are spoken without real knowledge of the motive, purpose, function, or heart of one another. We want the unchurched to know our heart is not to judge, but to show acceptance and offer growth. We want other churches to know our heart is not to exclude ourselves, but to work together to honor Christ and reach more people. If we have to deal with error, after attempts to build a relationship and know the heart of everyone involved, we will prayerfully endeavor to bring correction in a humble and respectful manner after we have personally researched and become informed about the targeted wrong and the specific people involved, having backed up our criticisms with both tangible and scriptural evidence. We want a culture of honor.
Do not be wise in our own opinion. We might be wrong.
Do not make universal statements about other churches or groups of people with words like “always” and “never.” Also do not make blanket statements about churches, leaving listeners to become skeptical of anyone that might qualify under your broad judgments.
Do not be quick to criticize someone whose ministry or gift is different than ours.
Realize that each member of Christ’s church (whether an individual, a local church, or ministry) has a unique function and purpose from God and most likely, different from ours. Embrace and celebrate the variety of God’s reflections.
I Corinthians 12:12-25
Don’t form assessments on someone’s heart based on mere outward observations. Get to know someone and then ask God for His discernment.
I Samuel 16:7
Realize that when we make negative statements about another church or ministry that we could be hurting the kingdom and positioning ourselves in opposition to God Himself.
Acts 5:38, 39
Speak well of others or do not speak at all. Stop church-on-church crimes of criticism.
Believe the best in people. Hope the best. Pray for them to do well for their part in advancing the kingdom of God.
I Corinthians 13:7 amplified