An intriguing review Crushed: The Perilous Journey Called Ministry

As I travel and speak across the country, I often am approached by pastors (or sometimes ministry couples) who have been broken and shattered by mistreatment from their congregations.

Now, often, on this blog, the issue of minister mistreating the congregation comes up -- and I absolutely believe that spiritual (or emotional) abuse at the hands of a shepherd is intolerable.

However, there's another side which is not often stated. There are a lot of dysfunctional churches that "eat pastors alive."

Thankfully, I'm serving in a healthy congregation where that is not the case. Our people aren't perfect (and neither am I) -- but as a rule of thumb, we get along, and are going somewhere together.

Sadly, in a huge number of churches, the environment is one of negative warfare.

Expectations for ministers are unbelievably high. Pastors are expected to be "supermen" (or "superwomen"). They are often regarded as a function rather than as a person. If they fall short of "expectations" then are shredded up one side and down the other.

They become targets for continual criticism, gossip and nit-picking. This situation is depleting and only leads to frustration and discouragment for everybody.

To the lay people who read this blog: Cut your pastor some slack. Pray for the family in the parsonage. Look for ways to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Instead of finding fault, ask God to bless your pastor, and lend a helping hand.


WPK said…
Amen and Amen Again!
Anonymous said…
"They become targets for continual criticism, gossip and nit-picking. This situation is depleting and only leads to frustration and discouragment."

I have seen the above happen not only to ministers but also to anyone new in a church that is not part of the controlling few. How very very sad.

When a church loses minister after minister, loses more and more people, perhaps the remaining few should ask themselves what is driving them away.
Anonymous said…
So true. I watched my church engage in a full-blown war between the older generation in control and the younger generation wanting control. And it appeared the pastor was fueling the flames. Or perhaps she just did not know how to handle the situation.
Dave Quinn said…
I have attended a church where they went through a few Pastors in a short time. They just kept looking for more without really looking at why the same thing was happening.

I really believe that there are times when the leadership needs to have an honest and prayeful look at themeslves and then repent and seek God's will for His chosen Pastor.
busere said…
It seems to me that this can be even more of a problem where several members of (or a large portion of) a congregation are all members of the same family.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
busere hit the nail on the head

The church quickly can become the Church of Smith or the Church of Jones
Kevin Murrell said…
Isn't sad when those who are to be Christ-like act more like they need to visit the dry cleaners to remove the ash and smoke of hell from their clothes. As one who has sat in the pew I have seen the congregation act both ways and it was uncomfortable to sit in the pews. As a pastor I was in a church that it was there way or the highway (might be why there seems to be a street closed sign ahead?) I am now in a church that seems to truly want to love on my family and I (and I thank God for that.) God has called some to ... preach and teach... a calling of various task but he called all to be united in Christ. Let's unite and fight the "good fight" and quit bickering over the trivial personal preferences.
Anonymous said…
SHAME on any of us who have ever caused abuse in our church or sit quietly in the pew or in a meeting and let the abuse occur.

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