Stop writing anonymous letters . . .and stop reading them, too
A wise pastor once told me he never reads anonymous letters.
(And courageous pastors receive a lot of them!)
Disagreeing parishioners write to express their anger with last week’s sermon. Citizens upset with the minister’s column in the newspaper. Other pastors attempting to “set right” a wayward and heretical preacher.
If a letter without a signature arrives in the mail (or slides beneath the office door), its thrown in the garbage.
If a person cannot offer his or her honest criticism and claim it for him or herself, it isn’t worth listening to. And it certainly isn’t worth the emotional energy!
The same goes for anonymous surveys in the church. Don’t bother with them.
People don’t take them as seriously as surveys that require a name. We get careless with them. We don’t think about how our feedback will be received. But if our name is attached to it, we care a little more about providing helpful criticism, not just criticism.
If you are a minister and you have a personal policy to not read anonymous letters, let your church know. Tell them you won’t read it, and maybe they won’t send it. In the process, you’ll help the church find healthier ways to communicate the concerns that matter.