How Not To Become a Celebrity Pastor

America—and the Western world in general—loves celebrities. That much is not in doubt. Whether they be athletes, actors, or successful CEO’s, we are fascinated with people who are rich, powerful, and at the top of their game.

Indeed, we’ve been taught that the way you make an organization successful is by finding an exceptional person to lead it—a franchise player—who can put it on the map. Whether it’s Lebron James or Jeff Bezos, all organizations need a superstar.

Unfortunately, the church has sometimes adopted this same approach to leadership. If our churches are going to “succeed,” we figure we need our own franchise player to lead us—someone who is strong, …

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5 Misconceptions about Spiritual Abuse: #4: “Spiritual Abuse Is Not As Harmful As Other Kinds of Abuse, So We Shouldn’t Worry Too Much About It”

In anticipation of the Nov 1st release of my new book, Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church, I am making my way through a 5-part blog series on misconceptions and misunderstandings of spiritual abuse. You can read prior installments here, here, and here.

We come now to misconception #4: “Spiritual abuse is not as harmful as other kinds of abuse, so we shouldn’t worry too much about it.”

In my research for my forthcoming book, I was a bit surprised to discover how many people think that the harm caused by spiritual abuse is a distant second (or even third) …

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5 Misconceptions about Spiritual Abuse: #3: “The Bible Doesn’t Talk about Spiritual Abuse–It’s Just a Modern Psychological Construct”

In anticipation of the Nov 1st release of my new book, Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church, I am making my way through a 5-part blog series on misconceptions and misunderstandings of spiritual abuse. You can read prior installments here and here.

We come now to #3 in the series: “Spiritual abuse is not in the Bible or church history—it’s just a modern psychological construct.”

A number of folks may balk at the idea of spiritual abuse solely on the grounds that the terminology itself is relatively modern. If it does not appear in the Bible (or church history), it is argued, …

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5 Misconceptions about Spiritual Abuse: #2: “Spiritual Abuse is Only a Problem in Independent Churches That Have No Established Church Polity”

In anticipation of the Nov 1st release of my forthcoming book, Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church (Zondervan, 2022), I am working my way through a new blog series, “5 Misconceptions about Spiritual Abuse.” You can find the prior installment here.

We now come to the #2 misconception in the series: “Spiritual abuse is only a problem in independent churches that have no established church polity.”

In the research for my book, I was surprised to see the widespread nature of this sentiment. Across the board, folks regularly expressed the idea that authoritarian, domineering pastors must be linked to a church polity that …

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5 Misconceptions about Spiritual Abuse: #1 “Loving the Church Means You Don’t Call Out Her Problems”

Prophet Jeremiah

Last week I announced the upcoming release of my new book, Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church (Zondervan, 2022). The book releases on November 1st.

As a lead up to the book release, I am launching a new blog series entitled, “5 Misconceptions about Spiritual Abuse.”  In my research for the book, it became quite evident that people have a lot of misunderstandings of spiritual abuse, how it manifests itself in the church, and how it should be addressed. Some of these are rather innocent misunderstandings, and others perhaps less innocent. Either way, it is important that they be addressed for the health of …

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