Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Can You Take Some Criticism?

The words of a critic. In the theater, we often wait anxiously for them on opening night hoping he or she will write a rave review of our performance and propel our show into multi-season success. When the words are less than positive, however, we tend to dismiss them, citing the critic's lack of ability or calling into question his or her authority to criticize us at all.

Interestingly, the same scenario plays out, sometimes with even more drama, in a church setting. Worship and drama teams sometimes come under weekly critical review from people in the congregation. Why were certain songs or sketches selected? Why were certain persons and not others given leading parts or solos. Why weren't there more hymns? Why weren't there more contemporary songs?

Sometimes the criticism can turn personal and focus on a worship or drama team member's ability to sing or play an instrument. Sometimes the posture of a worship leader is criticized (you always have your eyes closed, you don't smile enough, you always have to be front and center).

So what can we do when we feel like we're being judged? First, make sure our hearts aren't hard. Yes, some people offer criticism with wrong motives. And some do so because it's a reflection of something not quite right in their own heart. And some offer it in love with the hope that we'll benefit from it. Keeping our hearts soft will allow us to discern where the critic's review is coming from and to act accordingly. If we harden our hearts, we close ourselves off to constructive criticism that can help us improve and serve him better. Non-constructive criticism we can accept with a smile and a heart of forgiveness that prevents strife from gaining a foothold between believers.

God wants us to be teachable. We learn from him, from his word, from his spirit-- and from other people.

On that note, here are some great learning opportunities:
Worship Leader Webinar
Monday, February 11, 2008 11:00 am PST
Helping Others Worship: a Philosophy for Worship Leadership, taught by Curt Coffield
More information and registration at http://wltc.webex.com">http://wltc.webex.com

Lillenas Drama Arts Conference
April 24-26, 2008, Kansas City
Information and registration at http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/lcol/index.jsp?nid=qlink">http://www.nph.com/nphweb/html/lcol/index.jsp?nid=qlink

Masterwork Productions Workshops
Training for worship and drama teams
http://www.masterworkproductions.org

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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