Ministry offers the prospects of deep spiritual fulfillment, but it never guarantees it.  In our modern age a mix of reception awaits the minister’s quest.  Some churches are ready to move forward with great vision and desire, but too often a local church has no interest in moving in any direction, except returning next Sunday for the same predictable outcome.  The rigid determination to remain the same may even be ready to escalate in hostile steps.  Of all the blasphemous words one might use, the dread cannot reach any further heights as uttering the word . . . {forgive me} . . . c h a n g e.

The minister fresh out of seminary and filled with energized, enthusiastic plans to raise the spirit of the whole world faces uncertain challenge from the church, itself – the very institution which is supposed to support those has become the chief obstacle.  Complacent churches may undermine the gospel itself the freedom to liberate souls in bondage.  An idealized expectation for immediate acceptance of a heavenly vision might lead to some of the deepest heartache a committed minister may ever experience.

In a recent study by the Bethany Fellowship (www.bethanyfellows.org), the dropout rate among first ministry Protestant ministers had been approaching an alarming rate of 40%.  Through mentoring and close spiritual collegiality these number have significantly improved.   Unfortunately, difficult ministries will always be with us.

Forced terminations pose another staggering pain.  Some cases are quite justified, revealing an unworthy and exploitive agenda not in keeping with the ministry of Christ’s gospel.  Clergy causing the trouble and abuse pose noteworthy disappointment.  See “Understanding Clergy Misconduct in Religious Systems: Scapegoating, Family Secrets, and the Abuse of Power,” by Candace R Benyei (Routledge, 1998) for one of the finest treatments for those case when the minister is the problem.

However, the abusive clergy, although far more newsworthy, hardly covers the whole story.  Clergy suffering abuse from bad situations which are not their fault far exceeds the previous consideration.  It’s a tragedy of the church having lost its way and uncertain of its desire for purpose and mission.  When the social dimension overshadows the heavenly we are left with the struggle for personal power and control. We can only guess the number of casualties in which the minister becomes the scapegoat for a church’s discomfort and refusal to manifest the presence of Christ’s expectations for a hurting world.

However, the abuse of Christ’s called ministers is not new.  Jesus was always up front about it and never issued a deceptive “spin” upon our work.  Before his own betrayal and passion he made it very clear that,

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.  2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.”      John 16:1-4

Even the Beatitudes clarifies from the very outset of discipleship,

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.              “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”     Matthew 5:10-12

Through many interviews, conversations and 39 years of ministry experience it has become ever so clear that all clergy have experienced some form of abuse in ministry.  The only ones immune to conflict are the ones who do not try very hard.  From the annoyances of nostalgia (AKA “We’ve never done it that way, before”) to the outright predatory behavior of Sociopathy (see the “Antagonists” page of this Web Site) the disrespect and harm is real.  No one is eager to admit their poor treatments, either through pride or tender wounds not yet healed.  Our modern culture glorifies the success of life, forcing ministers to hide the pain and suffer in silence and uncertainty.  Even finding a trusted ministry colleague who understands and is mature enough to handle the struggle requires divine intervention and connections.  Make no mistake, the personal side of ministry is often emotionally overwhelming.

This Web Site is motivated by this very dilemma.  If you have found us you are probably looking for help, comfort and direction.  Don’t give up, that’s why we are doing this, to help.  Misfortune, deserved or not, never requires quitting.  In fact, those wounds from ministry are what will make you a refined and mature leader.  Perhaps that’s the only way real wisdom is ever achieved, by learning the harsh lessons of life.  Welcome to HKU, “Hard Knocks University.”  You will find real wisdom by moving beyond the theoretical notions of “talking” about ministry and begin the task of “doing” ministry.  You are prime material God can use for his higher purposes.

Recognize it for what it really is,

Naiveté, noun

1. Lacking worldly experience and understanding, especially:
    a. Simple and guileless; artless
    b. Unsuspecting or credulous
c. Inexperienced or unsophisticated
2. Characterized by a lack of sophistication and critical judgment


“When P. T. Barnum said ‘there’s one born every minute,’
not everyone realized what a conservative estimator he was.”
— Philip Travers

Exchange it for the greater discipline of Discernment

  • Open your eyes
  • Acknowledge the Emperor wears no clothes
  • Pull back the Wizard’s curtain
  • Embrace Carl Jung’s “Individuation”
  • Become your own person apart from how others define you
  • Get some “street smarts” into your walk
  • Take the Red Pill and Step out of the Matrix grid
  • Unbind the enchantment spell
  • List the rose colored glasses on eBay ASAP
  • Break ranks with the herd
  • Synthesize Hegel’s thesis and antithesis
  • Peel yourself off the wall of Plato’s shadows
  • Actualize your inner self (Maslow)
  • Achieve full consciousness
  • Jump off the bandwagon
  • Awaken the sleeper within (Franz Herbert)
  • Birth your heavenly reality

The first two Athenian Pillars state it well,

  1. Know thyself
  2. To thyself be true

Rollo May explains our modern pursuit of full humanity, “Man’s Search for Himself” (page 49),

“The upshot is that the values and goals which provided a unifying center for previous centuries in the modern period no longer are cogent. We have not yet found the new center which will enable us to choose our goals constructively, and thus to overcome the painful bewilderment and anxiety of not knowing which way to move. Another root of our malady is our loss of the sense of the worth and dignity of the human being.  Nietzsche predicted this when he pointed out that the individual was being swallowed up in the herd, and that we were living by a “slave-morality.”  Marx also predicted it when he proclaimed that modern man was being “de-humanized,” and Kafka showed in his amazing stories how people literally can lose their identify as persons.”

“Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives. It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice; it’s conformity.”                        —   Rollo May


And never abandon Hope.  Just like Andy Dufresne encourages his friend in “The Shawshank Redemption,”

“Remember, Red, hope is a good thing,
maybe the best of things.
And no good thing ever dies.”




Respecting the project

This whole endeavor is meant as a gift for Christ’s church.  We are not anticipating monetary profit, although we are realistic, any contributions to further this Web Site’s goals will not be denied.  But it’s not our motive.  We know the pain and injustice of churches in turmoil, distracted from their mission and expectations of our Lord.  We seek the goal of peace-keepers to restore harmony and redirected mission.

As idealistic as it may be, this is all a quest to somehow equip Christ’s church and ministry for faithful obedience to what we are called to be and to do; to stay focused.

In light of such a pursuit, please do not exploit our generosity.  Give credit where it is due and respect the many hours of work and financial expense of putting all this together.  And besides it’s just way too ironic, especially ministers to exploit information from a Web Site addressing poor, exploitative behavior.  Such irony runs critical mass and could be intellectually as well as spiritually fatal.

Please note the work of “ChurchPolitics.org.”



Book Proposals – Looking for a Publisher

1) “Unmasking Hate; Through Religious Innocence and Deception”

Hate is the expression of evil in our vulnerable world.  From initial acts of self-preservations to full blown hostility and violence, the powers of dark motives infect and undermines every effort of social healing and justice.  The early efforts of innocence especially the ploys of religious rhetoric evolve into “In-Group” love leading to self-justified demonizing and purging the despised “Out-Group.”

2) “Church Subversion; the Church Under Siege by Unworthy Agendas”

Mapping the typical stages of those seeking to take over a church.  They usually start quite innocently but quickly reveal their objectives.  A typical American church is large enough to make it worth their while and small enough they can make a take-over happen. These 12 stages will take you from the innocent and naïve beginnings to the aftermath of suffering and hopeful recovery.

3) “Church Vulnerable; Weakened Points for Worldly Intrusion”

Looking at 40 points at which a church compromises its heavenly calling to become just another social club on the market.  The church has a great calling which our Lord Jesus has place upon us.  But modern churches are much too inflicted with affluenza which weakens our desire to be what Christ commissions us to be.  It’s so much easier to succumb to religiosity and “settle” for niceness instead of duty as an outpost of Christ’s kingdom.  These 40 marks reveal the specific ways the church sells out to materialism.  Instead of changing our world. Here is how the world has changed the church.

4) “Church Tensions; Nine Stages of Church Conflict”

Church conflict never stands still.  Pride charges and magnifies differences into destructive stages of tension.  Here is listed nine recognizable levels that inflict terrible harm when left unchecked.  Wherever two or three are gathered in Christ miraculous expectations are warranted, but if those few people are not seeking Christ, horrible consequences reveal themselves.  The fallen-ness of human nature just naturally compel us into friction. Some conflict is only natural – welcome to the planet – but we do not have to allow it to overwhelm the church.  Faithful leaders can diffuse and at least slow it down its effect.

5) “The Power Addicts; When Sociopaths Go to Church”

Sociopaths: not as rare as you may wish to think.  DSM 5 suspects 2% – 4% of our population is obsessed with this drive to dominate people.  Lacking any sense of conscience, consequences, or anything else beyond themselves, they cause deep havoc when they strike at a church.  Totally self-possessed, they fight for power and control wherever they are, like reckless addicts.  They cannot hold themselves back from trying to oppress their environment.

6) “Rethinking Human Evil; A Very Subtle Agenda for Ruin”

Granted, no one wants to admit that dangerous people walk among us, but those Pollyannaish glasses will fail our better safety in time. It’s just an uncomfortable fact that not everyone is safe.  The dangers of walking through the wild terrain of the country is true wherever we go.  But instead of the danger of grizzly bears or mountain lions, we have those impaired by personality disorders that do not mind, even enjoy, causing pain and suffering to these around them.  Sociopaths, Narcissists and Borderlines are only the beginning of that list.  It’s an undesirable truth that human predators are all about us, it’s an unsafe planet.  Another terrible truth is that churches are natural draws for these self-possessed opportunists.  Like lions at a Serengeti watering hole awaiting their prey, so they await the trophies they may consume.

7) “Community for Real”

After the heavy theology of Romans 1-11, Paul gets down to the practical consequences of living out the Christian faith.  Romans 12:9-27 guides the evaluation and development into the deeper needs of our soul is not that far away.  However, it will take some work and devotion by Christians finally tired of Religiosity and the many games religious people will play.  Only sincere hearts will discover such safe zones for spiritual formation and maturity.