The Wounded Minister (Healing from and Preventing Personal Attacks)

by Guy Greenfield

Alarming statistics show pastors and other church staff members leaving church employment in record numbers. There are a number of reasons, but one of the major causes is pastoral abuse. This problem cuts across denominational lines and impacts people in every area of ministry (pastoral, youth, music, education, etc.) in the church.

Dr. Guy Greenfield's book, The Wounded Minister, addresses this issue of pastoral abuse. He writes from his own personal experience as well as from doing extensive research. He pulls no punches and addresses the problems head-on. He discusses those who cause the problems and the hard and difficult actions the church may need to take.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 covers the reality of abuse. Greenfield gives extensive coverage to those who inflict the wounds and the greater damage caused by church leaders who passively respond to attacks on the pastor or staff member. Two chapters address the collateral damage to the minister and to the church when a "clergy killer" wrecks a pastor's life and career.

Part 2 covers the damage a pathological minister can cause to himself and the church. There are ministers who invite attack and must take responsibility for their actions. Greenfield gives a fourfold strategy for ministering to and healing of the pathological minister: There must be 1) awareness, 2) diagnosis, 3) therapy, and 4) encouragement and protection.

In Part 3 Greenfield offers practical steps the wounded minister can take to heal and recover. His observations are penetrating and his suggestions are on target. Recovering from a shattered ministry requires time, solid counseling, and (most of all) a reaffirmed faith in God and his call to ministry.

This is a book every minister and church staff member (wounded or not) should read. Whether you agree or disagree with Dr. Greenfield, you can greatly benefit from this book. For the wounded it can be a great help in recovering from those wounds.