How Churches Promote and Protect Abusive Pastors


Research and in-depth analysis reveal that church leaders and institutions ignorantly promote and protect abusive pastors.

Diane Langberg, Psychologist and author said the schools that educate Christian leaders do not teach about such things.

The author of Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church, expounded that church institutions almost only give practical knowledge about how to run a church or a ministry, but do less in teaching servants of God how to wield power and lead effectively without (ignorantly) abusing the flock.

Langberd who is a prolific counsellor added that the church needs to do more to teach leaders the importance of understanding themselves and their own vulnerabilities, as many of them carry hurts and wounds that might never have been dealt with.

She revealed that many pastors are products of abuse and may have never asked questions about who they are and how their wounds and hurts might affect the people of God.

Quoting her: “Think, for instance, of a man in the pulpit whose father physically abused him and spoke to him like he was trash. He’ll be full of wounds, and that’s going to affect how he uses his position of leadership. But his ignorance of himself and the wounds he’s carrying make him vulnerable to feeding off his sheep”

He disclosed that many pastors weep before him after being counselled and realising they are transferring their hurts and bitterness to the sheep.

She further dissected that if pastors are not aware of the power they exercise, they are likely to abuse it.

In her analysis, servants of God who are not aware of the impact they make on people as leaders and power-carriers may end up using the members to meet theirr needs or make up for your vulnerabilities.

She said a pastor who feeds on the congregation is a wolf, not a shepherd. He referenced Ezekiel 34 that warns against shepherds who feed and clothe themselves rather than their sheep.

She also advised that the congregation needs to be responsibility and keep the church system healthy, mainly by worshiping Christ and him alone and also praying for their leaders.

She advised church leaders to let out weaknesses and vulnerabilities as they follow the head of the church – Jesus Christ.

“…a body that does not follow its head is a sick body…”, she quipped wisely.

Langberg’s career as a Christian psychologist began 45 years ago when she started working with the Christian community.

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