Building great people, because great people build great families and great families build great communities.
To God be the glory!

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Day.... No Rather a New Beginning!

Well here we are just days away from 2008. As this year draws to a close so does our time as pastors of the Osoyoos Christian Centre. We are grateful for the four years of ministry that God has allowed us to be part of with the saints at OCC. However, some of us are being led in a different direction - so as the year 2007 closes we look forward with great anticipation to the year ahead, both for them and us! Surely the Lord will lead and guide.

Starting January 13, we will be meeting at the Osoyoos Sonora Community Centre. The name "The Gathering Place" will go with us, and the building on 42 Finch Cres. will revert back to the Osoyoos Christian Centre.

We will be praying for them and the new leadership. Judi and I along with our son Casey pray that no shame will be brought to our Lord's Holy name. To God be the Glory!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dear Friends in Christ

It is hard to believe we are at this time of year again. Is it just me or were there actually less days in this last year? At any rate, my family and I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year.

We are so grateful to our Lord Jesus for the ministry opportunities we’ve had this past year. A special thanks to all of you who have faithfully labored with us. We are grateful for your support and prayers this past season. May 2008 be filled with good health and prosperity.

God grant us to live each moment with expectation.
Let us walk by faith; work in hope; live in love.
Ground us in your Word and guide us by your Light.
Give us vision and dreams and discernment.
Warn us, as you did Joseph, to the dangers that threaten us
and grant us courage to take action.
May we not give voice to unbelief, but as you did with Zechariah, open our mouths to proclaim Your praise!
As in Mary, let Christ be formed in us and may our souls, too, magnify the Lord.
Let us sing with the angel chorus and with the shepherds run to greet You.
May we with Mary ponder and with the wise men worship.
And together with the hosts of heaven rejoice in the birth of Christ of Savior!
May God's peace be ours this Christmas and may the light of Christ guide us throughout the coming year!

Judi and I, along with Pastor Casey wish you all a blessed Christmas and God’s merciful guidance in the New Year.

Pastor Ed & Judi
Pastor Casey, James & Zach

Friday, December 14, 2007

Worth A Second Read

Q. What good is a denomination today? A. To support, encourage, resource and empower the local church in its community
Successful new movements continue to be birthed in the Christian community. Most have a clear vision and purpose. Almost all are led by an individual, family or group with vision, dynamism and drive. It seems obvious God honours strategic, energetic leaders with vision and a sense of mission.
What about long-standing denominations? Those that do not have the advantage of being “new,” are structurally cumbersome and have for years believed in their uniqueness, either in their belief structure and/or in calling. Will they again be recognized and blessed as in times past?
Although I claim little special insight into Canadians’ future choices, I tend to think most people will be attracted to something dynamic and relevant to our times. The following material from my own family of churches may offer this in a form relevant to new and long-standing denominations.
The Associated Gospel Churches (AGC) came into being at a time when the authority of Scripture was being challenged and when the understanding that individuals needed to repent and embrace Christ as the only way to be accepted as a child of God was seen as narrow and irrelevant. In response, our predecessors developed an extensive statement of faith and named the denomination/association after the heart of its mission: gospel churches. The movement has grown to 145 churches in Canada.
The AGC Vision and Strategy

Here is the current AGC vision of a new, healthy, reproducing church in our multicultural society in Canada:
1. Churches must be a reflection of the community they view as their primary calling.
2. Churches must be intentional in their reproduction, relational care, partnerships, discipleship, leadership development and cultural transformation. 3. Churches plant churches; denominations resource, empower and coach churches to be obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. 4. Local community-focused churches led by supported, trained pastors, church staffs and lay leaders are our best hope for transformed lives, communities and cultures.
5. We value biblical authority, dynamic spirituality, loving relationships, effective discipleship, intentional reproduction, strategic partnerships and cultural transformation.

As we assess, build, coach and develop in an unending circle, pastors and churches that are clear in their appreciation of the authority of the word of God and focused on people will flourish.

Assess leadership and church health using tools that have corresponding helps to strengthen weaknesses and exploit strengths.

Build leaders and churches through every available resource in partnership with other organizations.

Coach pastors, church staff and key lay leaders through area clusters, monitoring coaches and regional superintendents.

Develop an ongoing recruitment and assessment process that values people and the sovereignty of God.

Old denominational structures may be dying, but denominations that empower, resource and encourage community-based leaders and pastors have every hope of God’s blessing and impact on the community.

Early Outcomes
An Ontario church noticed a strip of older motels populated with people waiting for more permanent housing. They began to offer a Saturday evening hot meal free, served by people from the church who were there simply to show care, acceptance, love and hope, and to provide interaction and understanding. After one year a number of the motel residents are participating in an Alpha program, others are in Bible studies and a few are now attending church services.
In a Western Canada church, people volunteer to help the town maintenance department and have stepped alongside farmers and small business owners to offer help and encouragement. The result is that the church has grown from 35 to 135 people worshipping each Sunday. They have built a new church building in a declining town, giving hope to the community and purposeful life to the church.

In thinking about the purpose of a denomination today, one would be wise to focus on the local church. A. F. (Bud) Penner is the president of the Associated Gospel Churches with its home office in one of its churches in Burlington, Ont.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007




Have You? Did You?

Matthew 13:44 - 46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

"What once was precious, is now Unexceptional" I wish I could say that we still see our gift of salvation as precious, but alas it has become common place for far too many of God's children.
May God once again be high and lifted up for His wonderful gift - may we willingly sell all that we have and are and hope to be to aquire it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

BLESS THE LORD! What a powerful service we had this last Sunday morning. I have included the morning message entitled "Staying The Course!". However it is what took place after that blew me away! I had watched ER (not a usual practice) the other night and was taken by the Chaplain's hand washing service. It seemed to fit so well with what I was ending the service with on Sunday so I incorporated it into our service.

I have never performed this nor have I ever experienced its powerful effect. I preached my heart out to the thirty or so people present. I ended with a call to Stay The Course! Then I invited them to come and wash their hands in the bowl I had set up near the cross. I had a number of torn rags to dry our hands with and then a container at the foot of the cross for us to throw the rags into. Thereby not taking anything back with us. So after I read Job 17:9 The righteous shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger..... Judi led us in "Give us clean hands" and as we sang people were invited to come forward.... whow! What a Holy stirring. Our people along with visitors came forward one by one... and for me the moment my hands hit the water the anointing came over me... PTL.

People stood around and sang praise unto the Lord and then one of our older brothers said the Lord showed him how the pastor stood on the front line and needed brothers and sisters to stand by his side ... (the whole watching and praying thing we had just spoken about). He invited those who felt the Spirit speaking to them to stay the course with the pastor to come forward..... I did not know it then but every single person in the church came forward... young and old regulars and visitors. I cannot explain the powerful encouragement that was to me and my family! Casey was really moved by the show of support. During their lay on of hands and prayer I was aware of the person next to me weeping... I stole a glance but didn't recognize the brother. When the prayer ended he imbraced me with tears rolling down his cheeks he gave one of those "I'm standing with you looks". I found out later that he was the coach of the Osoyoos Whalers (Hockey Team) and he had brought three of his players (including the enforcer) to the service. He and the players all responded to the call that morning. God is doing something wonderful in our midst! The coach told me later that he will be bring the whole team in the new year.... all I can say is GOD IS GOOD!

Stay The Course! In the first chapter of Nehemiah, Nehemiah was told of the great affliction and reproach brought upon the remnant people of God! He heard also that the wall around Jerusalem was broken down and that the gates of it were burned.

The Word tells us that when he heard these things he sat down and wept. He mourned, fasted and prayed for days.

He then reminds God of His covenant with those who love Him and keep His commandments, Nehemiah then confesses the sins of the children of Israel. He included himself; “...both I and my father's house have sinned.“

A righteous man always examines his own life first.
Nehemiah does not demand his rights, rather he reminds God of His great mercy!

Now Nehemiah was a cup bearer for the king and he prayed for something specific Nehemiah 1:11 grant me mercy in the sight of the king…

The king noticed something different about Nehemiah and asked what was wrong? The king listened to Nehemiah’s story and then asked how he could help… But before Nehemiah answered he prayed 2:4.

And then answered the king in the next verse. The king gave him time to go, letters of reference to be given to the governors beyond the river, a letter to the keeper of the king's forest, for timber to make beams, gates and the wall of the city, and for a house for Nehemiah. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God on me. The king even sent a small army of horseman to protect him.

So God set a plan into motion for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. Now for the sinister twist.... when Sanballat and his servant Tobiah, heard of all that, it grieved them exceedingly! We’re not sure why, but they were ticked!

WHENEVER you try to repair the broken alter of your life;
WHENEVER you seek to do something about this temple (flesh);
WHENEVER you begin to build a wall of separation

You can bet the enemy of your soul will seek to turn up the heat of opposition!

He’ll try to get you to compromise.
He wants you to turn away from God’s calling. He wants you off the wall of God’s divine purpose.

I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

You dare not neglect to WATCH and PRAY!

Satan’s bag of tricks has not changed - just as he tried with Nehemiah so he’ll try with you.... take a look and see if his tricks aren’t the same today:

Nehemiah 4:1 when Sanballat heard that we had built the wall, he was angry and took great indignation, mocking the Jews.

He said, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Are they going to revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish?
Tobiah his servant so as not to be out done said, Even what they do build, if a little fox were to climb up on it, he would easily break it down!

Perhaps the devil has ridiculed or mocked you when you’ve taken a stand for Jesus!

Job 12:4 the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

Nehemiah 6:1-9 When Sanballat and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall... they sent me an invitation, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.

But they thought to do me mischief. (Discernment!)

So I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, while I leave it and come down to you? They sent the same invite four times and each time Nehemiah answered the same way!

Nehemiah 6:5-8 Sanballat sent his servant in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah.. So come now and let us take counsel together.

In today’s language Nehemiah’s reply would simply have been - NOT!

These things are untrue, you imagine them.

“An open letter” is a very divisive tool. Pastor on death bed - Pillow case

Nehemiah was then tempted to hide in the temple. But, because he had learned early to WATCH AND PRAY God was able to warn him.... “I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me.. he was hired, that I should be afraid and then in hiding in the temple I would sin.. giving them a matter for an evil report to reproach me.”

In our watching and praying God’s purposes can be distinguished from our enemies purposes and even from our own purposes!

The devil's plot was revealed in verse 19 to put me in fear.

The devil controls people through fear!

As a point of interest... Sanbal'lat means a thorn in secrete.

Let me encourage you with this truth, When someone persecutes a child of God, God Himself, personally takes up the cause!

When Paul was persecuting the church Jesus stopped him right in his tracks and said, Saul why do you persecute me!
If you can't beat him, join him method.

Ezra 4:1-5...when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the temple walls were being built.. they came to Zerubbabel and said, Let us build with you for we seek your God as ye do and sacrifice to him.. But, the chief fathers of Israel, said, You have nothing to do with us building a house to our God; we ourselves will build for our God.

The devil’s true colours will show: Then those people who had offered to help began to oppose and weaken the hands of God’s people and troubled them in the building of the wall.

They even hired counsellors to frustrate their purpose!

The agenda of our enemy is still to frustrate our God given purpose!

How did Nehemiah and his brethren finally complete the work?

The answer to this question will hopefully give us some good council tonight!

Here is the answer - They watched and prayed. Nehemiah 4:9 we prayed to our God, and set a watch day and night.

Most Christians are far too nieve when it comes to spiritual warfare! We far too often get involved way beyound the boundaries - the safe boundaries of watching and praying....
Nehemiah 4:16-21.. half of my servants continued in the work and the other half held the spears, the shields and the bows... the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.

Nehemiah and his brethren put into effect God’s principle: WATCH & PRAY. The importance of WATCHING AND PRAYING cannot be over emphasized!

Refuse to be distracted! Refuse to get offf the wall of God’s purpose!
Job 17:9 The righteous shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stay The Course!

I sit here at the keyboard, sick in body and weary in mind. My normally positive spirit has been at war with an onslaught of negative darkness. I am physically miserable, my imune system weakened by strife. My mind finds little rest if any. Sleep, real rem sleep although greatly sought after, seems unattainable. The Word tells us that where there is strife there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16)

I like Abram in Genesis 13:8 pray for an end of strife especially between brothers and sisters in the family of God. I have studied the Book of Proverbs regarding strife. The writer says that it is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. God help us to be men and women of honor!

The writer of Proverbs gives us a clear picture of where strife comes from and how we can stop it. He says that where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. Sounds easy enough, but what fuels a talebearer, here again we find the answer in Proverbs. It seems a contentious man kindles strife. So if I add this up right, contention kindles stife, and a talebearer promotes it.

Both those attributes work against unity, without which our testimony smacks of hypocrisy!

Is it any wonder the devil attacks us in the area of unity?

Paul suggests that we walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. He in fact links these things to carnality. It is time we put the flesh to death and walked in the spirit of God's love. Doing nothing through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind esteeming other better than themselves.

I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: You dare not neglect to WATCH and PRAY!

Nehemiah saw victory because he had the people pray to God, and set a watch day and night....

Nehemiah 4:16-21.. half of my servants continued in the work and the other half held the spears, the shields and the bows... the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Nehemiah and his brethren put into effect God’s principle: WATCH & PRAY.

The importance of WATCHING AND PRAYING cannot be over emphasized!

Refuse to be distracted! Refuse to get offf the wall of your purpose! God has placed you here!
Through watching and praying hold to the God given purpose for you. Job 17:9 The righteous shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.....

In the midst of my misery I hear a quiet voice within my soul saying three words, "Stay the course". "Stay the course". "Stay the course"...... help me blessed savior!

Psalms 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren
to dwell together in unity!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Oh My Goodness.....

I was re-reading this article and I had a sudden shock go through me. I personally know of one family in Kelowna who have been guilty of being Clergy Killers in four churches. They attack KCC and us after closing down two other churches. KCC lost 300 members because of this family and the Pastor nearly lost his ministry. We were under opression for a year. Although the PAOC came to our defense after much grief... the damage was done. The sudden realization I came to was that in the above mentioned case we actually were dealing with a serial killer!

Clergy Killers

by G. Lloyd Rediger, PhD (Directory of Clergy Counseling Services, Wisconsin Council of Churches) August 1993 The Clergy Journal

This is an angry column. I am enraged at sick and evil people in the church who destroy pastors. This column and magazine are typically read by clergy, so this is like "preaching to the choir." But I must say these things anyway, for they may add a bit of courage or clarity to the lives of troubled pastors, or at least assure them that they are not alone.

Some years ago I entitled one of these columns, "Let's Get the Pastor." In it I described a kind of game that goes on in many churches, with the pastor used as a football. This time I am describing the more vicious game in which a pastor is targeted for destruction, and a congregation is seriously damaged by the fallout. The perpetrators go free, of course, often to kill again, and often convinced that they are doing the right thing.

When I encounter such pastor killers, I am reminded of biblical passages where religious people destroy or terrorize their spiritual leaders. Even Jesus was not exempt. In one sense, we should not be surprised therefore, when we as clergy are terrorized, for it only took them three years to get Jesus. What hurts the most, of course, is that these people purport to be Christians. And often, they are persons in whom we have invested significant amounts of professional and personal time and energy.

My purpose in writing on this subject is to clarify for pastors and denominational executives, the fact of, the methods used by, and the remedy for clergy killers in the church.


First, the fact of clergy killers. Nearly any experienced pastor and denominational executive has encountered these humanoids (excuse me, my anger is still showing!). We tend to deny, excuse, or pamper them in the church. But they are very real and very toxic. I have encountered them in every denomination, and in many congregations over the years. But because we believe such persons should not exist in the church, and that we should be kind and forgiving to everyone, we fail to admit or understand the tactics, and motivation, and devastating toll they take on the energy and resources of the church, besides the cruel damage they do to clergy and those dear to them.

Clergy killers typically have intimidating power because they are willing to violate the rules of decorum and caring the rest of us try to follow. This is powerful at a subconscious level, for we sense such persons are willing to escalate the fight, and use tactics we forbid to use ourselves. In fact, most of us clergy do not even know how to do survival fighting ("street fights"), much less have the necessary resources and networks for such showdowns.

Clergy killers are masters of disguise. They can present themselves as pious, active church members who are "only doing this for the good of the church." Naive and gentle ("peace at all costs") parishioners may be deceived by such camouflage. And they typically advocate for the CKs (Clergy Killers) by urging the pastor and church board to be patient, make allowances, or not to misjudge such folks. CKs can convince many that they are raising legitimate issues. And for those who might do battle with them, CKs use bluster, threats, and even terrorism to appear as unstoppable giants. CKs even have allies of opportunity, i.e., parishioners who do not advocate the cause CKs are espousing, but who wish to punish the pastor for their own hidden reasons.

Clergy killers are evil. There, I said it! There are clinical names, of course, but in our theological categories, they are evil. This means they are not just sinners, in the normal inadvertent or mistaken sense. They do evil intentionally, and willingly pursue its destructive means and ends. Even repentance and restraint on their part is suspect, for it is typically a tactic only. Being around and having to associate with such persons tempts healthy spiritual leaders to pronounce curses ("Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees..."), as someone we all know did more than once while on this earth.


From a clinical (psychological) perspective, CKs are likely to have personality disorders (paranoid, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, and even passive aggressive). Or they may be previous or present victims of abuse. They may have volatile or addictive personalities. They may have inadequate socialization, arrested adolescence, and violent role models in their history. And they may have developed a perverse voyeuristic and vindictive taste for the suffering of their targeted victims.

In more ordinary terminology, CKs have learned the power of throwing tantrums to get their way. They know how to be bullies. They know how to distract, confuse, and seduce. And they have little sensitivity to the suffering of those outside their circle of cohorts.

It took me some time to realize the dimensions and variations of CKs' tactics. In generic terms, they can either wound or kill by direct attacks, by getting others to do their dirty work for them, or by inducing their victims to self-destruct. The first two are self- explanatory. But it is this third generic form of victimization that may go undetected.

The tactic of inducing a victim to self-destruct is not uncommon. Some jungle creatures do this. And it is not uncommon in business, politics, and the professions to harass a person in subtle and obvious ways until their stress produces irrational and destructive behavior. They may wound or destroy themselves, they may destroy a scapegoat, or they may do something bizarre, unethical, or criminal so that legal authorities must punish them. And it is not uncommon for the victim of a CK to develop behavior and attitudes that lead to alienation of family and friends, divorce, and loss of clergy credentials.

I could cite many examples of clergy killers in action. One that raises my ire every time I hear or remember his name is a former pastor who was once a shining star of his denomination. He seemed to have everything going for him, until he became pastor of a medium- sized thriving and progressive church. But a couple of university professors and a seminary professor resented this pastors' charisma and success. they combined to sabotage his leadership. Then when his confidence began to falter, and his pastoral competence wained under their attacks, they began to accuse him of mental disorders. His wife divorced him in panic. He finally left ordained ministry, and has been unable to hold any but menial jobs. He now subsists in an inner city, hardly able to cope or even recognize old friends. The CKs continue in that church, like scorpions doing what scorpions have to do.

Cardiovascular disorders, cancer, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory problems used to be rather rare among clergy. And clergy used to generate the best mental health and longevity statistics of any profession. Not anymore. I hear of and work with highly stressed, paranoid, cynical, and dysfunctional clergy all the time now, with numbers growing. And many of these maladies are traceable to CKs and their effects. The costs to the church are enormous, in lost clergy, health costs, divided congregations, loss of ministry resources, and in debilitated pastors unable to function at much more than a survival level. Can anyone stop these CKs?


One of the causes of the downturn in mainline Protestant denominations is the wounded pastor syndrome. When a pastor is bleeding and desperately trying to survive, it is apparent that she or he will have little energy available for the creative pastoring church growth requires. But since the pastor is still visible and the traditional services continue, most people will not realize what is occurring. This condition resembles a pet dog with worms. It still looks like a dog, so no one thinks to question the loss of energy, and the debilitation of mission. And hardly anyone goes to the pastor with the kind of understanding, strength, and support she or he needs. I sat at lunch with pastors recently, at a conference I was leading on another topic. It was notable that they talked almost continually of church situations where the pastor was under attack. Their comments ranged from "there, but for the grace of God, go I"; "poor guy, I wish I could help him!"

More than one denominational executive has told me lately that as they travel across their district or the nation, they find attacks on clergy to be endemic. And they indicate a helplessness to do much about it. For even in strong executive denominations, top leaders have little authority to disarm or fight CKs. They fear offending powerful lay leaders, no matter how evil they are. Being politic, they realize that their power is derivative. And most denominational executives do not have the inclination toward the power tactics needed to eliminate CKs from a congregation. The correct prevalence of lawsuits is certainly no encouragement for any denominational leader to risk offending hostile-aggressive persons. But legal means may be one possibility for controlling CKs.

It would be helpful if seminaries could prepare pastors for the real jungle of the local church. Academe is not notable for realism, however. It should be obvious by now that pastors need survival training. And they certainly should be trained in conflict management. Lip service to this need is not adequate. Recently I consulted with an organization that is establishing a leadership training process outside of seminaries. This organization purports to train pastors in evangelism, church growth, and "community based pastoring." When I asked the director what kind of training they offered pastors in building their own support base, and in survival tactics, he looked at me as if I were from another planet. He said, "If a pastor is a dynamic leader, there will be no such problems." If he hadn't been so sure of his institute's success, I could have told him of a burned-out pastor I had talked to the previous week, who had graduated from his program, and of at least two other graduates whom I had heard were under attack by CKs.


The etiology of the CK phenomenon is not mysterious, for we have always had a few evil people in the church. But contemporary society is especially compatible for CKs. There is a general distrust of authority figures of any kind. There is biblical and theological illiteracy in the pews. This means parishioners do not understand God's purposes, and the dynamics of spiritual leadership. There is a general sense of entitlement growing in the church, in which church members feel entitled to comfort and privilege. And if a pastor does not please them, they are free to criticize and punish. There is a growing business mentality in the church, which says that if the CEO (pastor) does not produce, he should be fired. There is mobility among parishioners. This means they feel little loyalty to the "peace and unity of the church." For they will soon move on, without having to deal with the consequences of their irresponsible behavior. And, as has been mentioned, we are not training pastors to handle conflict, nor support themselves in survival situations.

All churches and pastors are not suffering, of course. And all critics of pastoral leadership are not CKs. But the killing of pastors is a serious, and in my experience, a growing phenomenon. Some pastors are incompetent, and some "shoot themselves in the foot," but none of them deserves the torturing tactics of CKs.

It is not only the victimized pastor who suffers, of course. We have noted the subtle, but significant damage to congregations and denominations. And we should certainly note the damage to clergy spouses, families, and intimate friends when CKs attack. Such victims may have even fewer survival resources, unless they have their own careers and support networks.
Identifying a problem is useful. But offering possible solutions and preventions techniques is also necessary. Even though clergy killing is such a distasteful, and denied subject, some healing insights will be useful... at least to celery who know the reality of this treacherous role vulnerability.


The first overt sign of the killing process began at a Church Board meeting (Session, Board of Deacons, Classis, Vestry, etc.). A member said, "A lot of people are complaining to me about the pastor. They're saying he doesn't call enough; he can't be reached when they want to talk to him; and he's not friendly enough." The Board asked who these people are, but the complainant refused to say. Then they asked for specific examples. He refused to be specific. The Board said they couldn't take action unless they knew the specific complaints. The complainant replied that they better take action, because these were important members who might leave the church.
The Board set up an investigative team, which reported at the next meeting that they could find no tangible evidence. The complainant told them that the complaints were real, and that they might have something to do with sexual misconduct and misuse of church funds.
The investigative team again reported no tangible evidence. The complainant then called for a congregational meeting. This request was denied.

Before the next board meeting, a letter filled with innuendoes against the pastor was mailed to the congregation. At the following meeting, the Board and pastors were in a near panic. The complainant said he had talked to the bishop, and the bishop said these were serious charges that needed to be investigated.

A new investigative team reported next time that there seemed to be a lot of people unhappy with the pastor. The Board voted to have a delegation meet with the pastor.

At the next meeting the pastor was absent. After six months of this harassment, he was in the hospital. The Board voted to send a delegation to the bishop. And at the following meeting, the delegation reported that the bishop recommended removal of the pastor.

The pastor is scheduled for heart bypass surgery now. And rumor says his wife is addicted to tranquilizers.


The first remedial insight is one to which this column is dedicated, namely, the existence of clergy killers. Such persons exist and continue their devastation in that shadowy dimension of institutional religion, behind the prominence of altar, pulpit, and pew. As I consult with victimized clergy, and even savvy denominational executives, it is hard for them to admit the presence and damage of clergy killers. It is much easier to blame pastors, for an unwritten expectation of our profession is that successful pastors should not have unhappy parishioners. There are incompetent pastors, of course, but there are clergy killers also.

The second insight is that the motivations and tactics of CKs are of a different order of magnitude than ordinary critics or nagging detractors. They are evil. And this is what makes them difficult to deal with. For though religion and clergy are not strangers to evil, we have forgotten the need for exorcism. Given this lapse, we simply much teach ourselves reality. CKs do not stop with winning a single victory over a pastor. It is only a matter of time before another attack is fomented. CKs do not stop when thwarted. They may back off, but this is only to regroup and find a winning strategy. CKs camouflage their methods and goals through denial, piousness, distractions, seduction, and unlikely alliances. CKs are willing to go to any length to achieve their goals, and seem to relish the notoriety and general destruction they generate. Theirs is a lifelong goal. When they kill off (get rid of) one pastor, they will certainly wait for an opportunity to kill the next one, even if they had a part in bringing her or him to their pulpit. And, CKs typically do not leave a congregation after either a victory or defeat, as other types of clergy antagonists often do. They tend to stay and turn a parish into a clergy killing field.

The third insight about CKs is how difficult and rare it is to find successful ways of thwarting or eliminating them on a permanent basis. As already mentioned, the denial process in the church is so strong that neither traditional theology nor polity offer effective relief. But there are several strategies that offer some possibility of success.

1. Patience. If one learns survival tactics, outliving CKs may be possible. For forty years in the wilderness eliminates some of them.

2. Raising consciousness. Educating laity and clergy to the CK phenomenon is valuable for both the short term and long term. This is sophisticated education, however. For denial and CK vengeance will try to sabotage it.

3. Teach survival. Clergy and their intimates must be provided with self-preservation skills, since few lay leaders, colleagues, or denominational executives will come to their aid, ready to stay the course with tenacious CKs.

4. Give theology and polity some teeth, in order that when CKs are identified, they may be eliminated. We have now put teeth into eliminating killer clergy (sexual malfeasors); we could do the same with clergy killers.

5. Engage knowledgeable consultants to bring in outside skills needed in this struggle for which the church is poorly prepared. Such professionals can advise and devise the interventions necessary. I have been encouraging experienced Pastoral Counselors (AAPC certified) to bring their special skills to the church for such ministries.

6. "Go by the book." Follow your denomination's polity and protocol as closely as possible. This not only lessens legal liability, it also sets precedence, and gives all involved parties an honorable method and goal.

7. All of the above!

This is a negative column, in that it deals with an unwanted subject and with admitted anger. I pray, however, that its effect will be positive, on behalf of embattled clergy and God's church