Nine Traits of Church Bullies

Church bullies are common in many churches. They wreak havoc and create dissension. They typically must have an “enemy” in the church, because they aren’t happy unless they are fighting a battle. They tend to maneuver to get an official leadership position in the church, such as chairman of the elders or deacons or treasurer. But they may have bully power without any official position.

Church bullies have always been around. But they seem to be doing their work more furiously today than in recent history. Perhaps this look at nine traits of church bullies can help us recognize them before they do too much damage.

  1. They do not recognize themselves as bullies. To the contrary, they see themselves as necessary heroes sent to save the church from her own self.
  2. They have personal and self-serving agendas. They have determined what “their” church should look like. Any person or ministry or program that is contrary to their perceived ideal church must be eliminated.
  3. They seek to form power alliances with weak members in the church. They will pester and convince groups, committees, and persons to be their allies in their cause. Weaker church staff members and church members will succumb to their forceful personalities.
  4. They tend to have intense and emotional personalities. These bullies use the intensity of their personalities to get their way.
  5. They are famous for saying “people are saying.” They love to gather tidbits of information and shape it to their own agendas.
  6. They find their greatest opportunities in low expectation churches. Many of the church members have an entitlement view of church membership. They seek to get their own needs and preferences fulfilled. They, therefore, won’t trouble themselves to confront and deal with church bullies. That leads to the next issue, which is a consequence of this point
  7. They are allowed to bully because church members will not stand up to them. I have spoken with pastors and church staff who have been attacked by church bullies. While the bully brings them great pain, they have even greater hurt because most of the church members stood silent and let it happen.
  8. They create chaos and wreak havoc. A church bully always has his next mission. While he or she may take a brief break from one bullying mission to the next, they are not content unless they are exerting the full force of their manipulative behavior.
  9. They often move to other churches after they have done their damage. Whether they are forced out or simply get bored, they will move to other churches with the same bullying mission. Some bullies have wreaked havoc in three or more churches.

Church bullying is an epidemic in many of our congregations. The bullies must be stopped.

Posted on March 30, 2015

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Great article! I confronted a church bully last year, they chose to leave the church and the church has grown healthier since.

  • “Going along to get along” almost did our church body in. Unfortunately, in our case, the bully was the pastor. He had apparently formed his idea of what the church would look like, and we “tried and true saints” were not part of the agenda. Praise God we got some backbone and pushed back enough–and still had the votes–so he left. Once burned, twice shy. We’ll be much more aware of this type of conduct in the future.

    • hmmmm … one might construe by your “having the votes” and “being aware of this type of conduct in the future” that “you” didn’t like being out of control … that’s a pretty common factor in churches with bullies… Certainly this readership can’t know the personal facts of your particular case Lee but make no mistake , red flags abound when a pastor is forced out because folks “had the votes” … Many dynamic churches have fallen into decline and decay because “tried and true saints” was just code for “those in power like things the way they’ve always been”. Blessings

    • John Estes says on

      Lee –

      Are you the executive pastor of a church in Tennessee?

  • I serve a church that is run by bullies. Each one looks and behaves a little bit differently. Their behavior is always excused as “oh, that’s just how they are.” What the congregation as a whole and the leadership do not realize is that the behavior of these folks is what drives people away and what keeps new people from coming in. As the pastor, I’ve been told to “suck it up” and “get a thicker skin” when I’ve approached those in leadership about this issue.
    Thank you for raising this issue. It is incredibly important for the health of any community/congregation. And it needs to be the topic of many conversations.

  • It’s one thing to identify the bullies, which is easy as a pastor (although most faithful church members know who they are too). Two questions;
    1. What do you do when you Biblically confront the bullies, who then go out and divide the body telling lies, slander and spreading hate speech in the community while convincing half the membership to quit attending/tithing?

    2. How do you go about getting the “body” to stand up to those few divisive members who remained?

    Also, I might suggest an alternative term for the “bullies.” I would put forth they are actually “hostage takers.” They have taken the church members “hostage.” It is a fact that when someone is taken hostage, that over an extended period of time the hostages actually begin to identify with and become sympathetic to their hostage takers. The hostages will reason: “They take care of my needs, they give me food, they protect me, they have money and spend it whenever something’s broken. They’re the one’s who are always working to protect me/us from going bankrupt. They’re always here at church, every time the doors are open. And, they’re good, moral people…surely they love God and have His and “our” best interest in mind! These are the people who are taking care of us, for crying out loud!

    • Mark Ford says on

      The new term I heard recently for the concept of gaining complete control of a church through these actions seems to fit well.

      That term is “Steeple-jacking”.

      • Thom Rainer says on

        Steeple-jacking! Great term!

      • My current situation includes an older lady that has been released from various volunteer positions (kitchen, laundry etc.) due to her hostile attitude and issues with so many people. Her final place to volunteer is children’s ministry. (What?!) She is in the kindergarten Sunday School room with 4 teachers. She is very disruptive by speaking over the teacher, confusing the materials, talking about inappropriate issues in the classroom and bad mouthing the teachers and director to the parents. Sadly, the list can continue for a mile. The other teachers are overwhelmed/scared of her. She calls me at all times of the day/night. Sometimes I receive 10+ phone calls a day. She doesn’t respect the boundaries that have been set at all. I have prayed about this matter, spoken with my director and really tried to be loving and patient. Last week, she disrespected the teaching team, me and my 8 year old daughter. The pastors and director called her in for a meeting. She was very upset and called my house over and over. I spoke to her in a calm and kind manner. She blames me for her choice to leave the church. The Pastors did not ask her to leave at all. I am now a target for her and I feel all alone with this issue. What should I do??

      • You need to consult an attorney and get a restraining order. Record her messages, then block her phone number. Keep her emails. Gather evidence against this woman, because you’ll need it should you take her to court. “Praying it away” is not going to stop this mentally-disturbed woman from harassing and bullying you. This is an issue that needs to be dealt with authorities. You will continue to suffer if you don’t do something now. She is seriously disturbed and will continue to make your life miserable.

  • Esther Falcetta says on

    Mr. Rainer:

    I find this post rather one-sided and would appreciate a follow-up post that acknowledges the ‘flip side’ of church bullying. For each of the nine points in this post, nine additional points can be easily made relevant to bullying on the part of church leadership (in response to a legitimate concern/question presented by a layperson or even another church staff person).

    Certainly, there are always people who will want their own way, seek personal value from position/power, cause trouble if they don’t get their way, gossip, etc. The sad reality is that these ‘bullies’ don’t just exist outside of church leadership. Too often, bullying exists IN the leadership of the church.

    Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts.

    • My comment to Angie C above, though appropriate there as well, was actually intended for you. Sorry about that.

    • Steven S. says on

      Thom writes at the beginning of the post: “They tend to maneuver to get an official leadership position in the church, such as chairman of the elders or deacons or treasurer. But they may have bully power without any official position.” That says to me that the bullying often, perhaps most often, comes from people in leadership, but that it can also come from elsewhere, which seems to be in agreement what you are saying.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Esther –

      These posts, by the nature of their brevity, do not have much space for point/counterpoint. If you think this article is one-sided, I would encourage you to read my post on dysfunctional leaders in the church. I dealt with the flip side several weeks ago.

    • Amen, Esther! My husband was a deacon in a church that was/is quite toxic. My husband gave really thought provoking sermons that he knew to be what God needed the congregation to hear. The priest was so arrogant that we think he must’ve seen my husband as competition, wherein he began to diminish my husband’s duties over time. On at least three occasions, this man felt compelled to publicly tease my husband about his accent. Having spoken to him directly and privately each time to stop, I felt an email was needed to have a record. I also heard inappropriate statements from male members of the congregation and began to see this as a potential spiritual problem. So I wrote an email, both to have a record in case the priest continued and because I was genuinely concerned about the spiritual health of the church. I wrote it as a member thereby considering it to be private. He left a calm message on my answering machine to give him a call back and when I did, he proceeded to ream me on the phone for ten minutes, starting with the words “HOW DARE YOU…” His only take away was to criticize me for not calling him by his title of “Father.” Then he demanded I apologize for that. Any other communication from me would jeopardize my husband’s position. I wish I had outlined the phone call in another email, but instead sent a heartfelt apology for not using his title. He then sent a response that stated something like “Was there some reason you needed to apologize?” He knew how to cover his bases, that’s for sure. Oh, and he admitted in the call that he had shown my private email to his (genuinely sweet) wife who he said replied “Well then, you’d better stop.”

      My husband did not get the training he was expecting. He did not get to go on any hospital visits, no training for funerals, none for weddings and only received two chats over coffee in two years with this priest. They did have a secret meeting to try to oust my husband, which is against church canon. Fortunately, God gave us a heads up and we were able to get out relatively unscathed, though very wounded and suspicious of internal church politics.

      It is a shame the power in that church is restricted to a couple of people who hold it in a death grip. Except for the one outreach ministry opportunity and an appeal to help a member of the congregation with desperately needed appliances, the only meaningful outreach this church has done is solely through the women’s ministry. Yet women are not given the respect they deserve. There are some wonderful, loving people in this church, but the difference is, they have no power.

      • We had other ideas for ministry outreach beyond the two we implemented, but the ideas were all shot down by the priest, yet he complained his congregation would not get involved in outreach. Hmmmmm…

    • Amen.

  • Angie C. says on

    Sadly also, these “bullies” can be in the position of Senior Pastor, and the congregation is completely unaware of how he conducts business with his support staff behind the scenes…or they are too afraid or ill-equipped to know how to handle it when they DO finally see it. One expects “chairman of the deacon” bullies. . . but what can catch off guard those called to ministry–especially when the assignment, by nature, is an associate role (worship pastor, children’s minister, education/discipleship, etc)–is to realize you are now working for such a person. You would never expect it or know how to look out for it. And worse yet, once you’re in the situation, you’re completely at a loss for how to deal with it or expose it without delivering turmoil to the local church or getting fired on the spot.

    • You could even go so far as to say that one who is bullying from a leadership position could use the characteristics described in this article to stamp out opposition to their own bullying. The back flap of the book that Ken is talking about above talks about “tell(ing) the difference between constructive, healthy conflict and destructive antagonism” which would seem to be the key issue in any conflict that arises within the congregation.

      If you can point at ANY dissenter and characterize them as a bully, then you can easily snuff out any kind of reform or accountability within the body.

      I’m sure that the situations that are described in the main article actually happen, but I also think that you need to weigh how certain information can be leveraged otherwise.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thank you, Angie. I dealt with this issue earlier in my post on dysfunctional leaders.

    • You are quite correct: there’s no shortage of bullies among pastors. I’ve known a few of them personally.

      • Judith Gotwald says on

        I fear that articles like this are fuel for pastoral bullying (which is common and exists at every level of church leadership). If pastors are looking for the worst among their flock, they’ll find it—and use it. They’ll find the weak members and curry favor among them, etc. Main message of the Bible: Love one another.

  • Bullies may but do not have to be hard-liners. At times it seems like they are the same but the two distinctions can be applied separately. Sometimes the bully is who you least expect. It might be the person who seems the nicest, kindest, sweetest person imaginable.

    • How true! Recently I found this to be a fact.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      You are so right, Mark. Sweet on the surface. Mean on the inside.

      • We have a bully in our church. It’s a woman and she has two minions. But when I first joined, she was hard to recognize because she gets other people to do her dirty work. She herself is always pleasant and tries to make sure the bad stuff never touches her. But the more you ask, “now where did you get that idea?” – the more her name comes up.

        Thankfully the Lord has revealed her behavior to enough people, a Biblical response is being followed to counteract her activities. I pray she will repent and reconcile, but it is more likely that she will get bored with us and move on. It’s just so sad to make a list of all the people she has run off from the church already.

    • Ditto to what Hugh and Dr. Rainer said. It’s a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.

    • Ain’t that the truth?

  • When I was in seminary I was required to read a book called “Antagonists in the Church”, by Kenneth Haugk. I think that book should be required reading for every pastor. The author describes many of the traits you list in your blog, and gives some helpful advice for dealing with them. His key advice is: “Strength repels attack. Weakness invites it.” In my nearly 20 years as a pastor, I have found that to be quite true.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Good recommendation, Ken. Thank you.

      • I don’t know if you guys realize the impact you have made on the price of this book! I bought a copy on Amazon as soon as I read this the morning it was published for $8. Now I am trying to get more copies so we can “drain the swamp” and the price has risen to $23!

    • Antagonists in the Church is an excellent book.

  • Esther Broadbent says on

    I am so grateful you address such difficult issues, Thom. I am in a church where we like to sweep these matters under the rug, and pretend like they aren’t happening. Our churches will never get healthy until we are willing to see our sicknesses.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thank you, Esther. May your numbers increase.

    • James A. Farmer says on

      Putting church abuse into perspective

      The Monday, March 1 Oregonian article via the Ashland Daily Tidings for same date (“Deceased priest who abused boys casts a shadow on the Northwest”) was very disturbing indeed! As a Christian, I must be direct, forward and morally/intellectually honest: Our churches have both the best and worst of people. Of course too does other segments of society as well. But let’s talk about churches and organized religion.

      Though I myself was never sexually abused as these boys described in article, I’m certainly aware such does indeed happen in our churches. And I’m also certain some churches are worse than others.

      Example: Prior to relocating to Ashland from Klamath Falls in 1986, I spent one year in a Church of Christ (non-instrumental) in Klamath Falls from 1982-83. Though there were some things I agreed with, there were other teachings I sharply disagreed and dissented with, including their sectarian/legalistic, dogmatic attitude of, “We are the only church and everyone else but us is wrong!”

      After leaving that congregation I was the target of judgmental gossip and slander! And get this: This judgmental jerk within the congregation told me it “would be damnable if I left the church,” which I eventually did anyway.

      Later, this same jerk was arrested for sexual abuse of a girl under 12 years of age! Yes, he was a predatory pedophile, a real creep! This is just one example of sexual abuse in our churches that, more often that not, remains covered up, hidden and suppressed. And that is downright criminal!

      Another thing I find disturbing is the trend in our churches today of taking 1 Corinthians Chapter 7 out of context and using it against Christian singles. The dogmatic parroted, “It’s better to remain single than marry,” as preferred by the Apostle Paul, is an oppressive doctrine indeed! Most people who parrot this are religious elitists who are married anyway and have a significant other in their lives.

      Though I have never read the book “Churches That Abuse,” by Ronald Enroth in 1992, it remains posted online via Google for reading. Yes, I have expressed my sentiments here. And furthermore I rightly feel that moral and intellectual honesty sees farther than does political and religious correctness.

      So what is the answer to this? I feel a place to start is with this Bible passage from 1 Peter 4:17: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God.”

      James A. Farmer, Ashland

      Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 Letters To The Editor

      Note To Readers: I’m now a resident of Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County).
      I can certainly relate to the issue of church abuse, religious criticism, etc.
      In fact, the worse adversaries I have encountered, especially in the past,
      have been the religious self righteous in the church, and not the ACLU:
      American Civil Liberties Union which is at best atheistic, anti-Christian,
      godless, socialist, and subversive against our constitutional republic! With the religious self righteous in our churches collectively, who needs
      Satan as an accuser of the brethren?

  • Thank you so much for raising this issue, Thom. Just a few weeks ago our pastor was forced out. I have learned that the ring leader was a church bully layman who worked with a staff person to get half truths and untruths out about our pastor. We lost a good man and a fine preacher over lies. I wish I had known ahead of time, and I would have confronted the issues and the people. Now I am looking for another church. Please pray for my family and me.

    • This is so true, but the sad part is that the bullies don’t or won’t recognize themselves but think they are right no matter what. Our church lost several good pastors, one right after the other , thanks to the bullying tactics of a few, one of which was our Church secretary. As soon as one pastor was chased out and a new pastor came, the bullies upped the ante and got increasingly uglier in their treatment of the good men they were bullying. After a bit of cleaning house over several years, we now have a well run Church and most of those who were in on the bullying have been silenced or have gone, some moved on and others have died. Isn’t it too bad that some people leaving the Church improves the effectiveness of the Pastor?
      On a related subject; I have no patience with people who feel they are entitled. And all Churches have those people, too. No, it is not envy because I have had and still do have position/positions of leadership in the Church, both local and District.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      I have prayed for you and your family, JP. I am truly saddened when any bully does his or her work. I am particularly saddened when the co-conspirator is a staff person.

    • Pray before leaving your church. The reason is that the bully will continue to cause problems after the next pastor arrives. I have dealt with bullies and they need to be confronted and stopped so Gods work can be permitted to continue.

  • #7 is crucial. This may come about because people may see church as safe, non-controversial, “go along to get along” places. Me, I simply won’t countenance bullying.

    I think when the members of the ekklesia are so secure and sure of their relationship with the Lord, that they don’t really let the opinions of others upset that, then bullies may not stand much of a chance.

    Kudos for raising topics such as this.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thank you, Bob. I am always encouraged by your courage and conviction.

      • This article almost made me fall backward out of my chair when I first read it.For the last 2 years I have been in a situation in my music department at my church. I serve in my choir and we have an individual who is not the director of the choir but consistently passes down directives and policies that affect us greatly. This person is not our minister of music but is over anything that has to do with vocals. The minister of music is over the band and that seems to be it. The bully seems to run everything else. It’s a strange set up but it was like that when I got there. The relationship between the minister of music and the bully seems to be forced at best by the pastor. The pastor is ecstreamly close to both people but it’s clear to see that they just tolorate one another. I don’t think pastor is aware of what’s going on with the choir. To this point there has been great reluctance by anyone to go to the pastor out of fear he would side with the bully. The bully is exstreamly manipulative. The choir as a whole seems to be very unhappy but have just gone along for the ride. The bully even has spies in the choir to report back all that we say and do. My flesh wants to walk away but I believe God wants me to stand up against this bully. To this point I have said a few things that have got me put on the bullies radar and that’s fine by me. I refuse to operate in fear and intimidation. This article hit dead on for me. And with much prayer I’m going to stand against this kind of tyranny.

      • I encourage you to stand up. I would caution you to make certain that your family will support you. My wife and I both stood up to some different things in our church, and we have had some very stressful years since then. It would have been much harder if we went through it alone.

      • Trisha Wheeler says on

        God bless you ! Thank you for this article on bullying in church ..I feel most deeply for you to be overridden and manipulated in this way ….and I feel it to the point I see weakness in my churches leader and great sadness this is overlooked great sadness indeed …
        Should you walk away .?
        I now have …I think if this behaviour is not challenged and encouraged to change by those in charge it will eat away at the very reason were there
        How can one sit and b bullied and left to feel worthless in the very place this is expected to be welcomed ? How can we help the vulnerable and weaker of the congregation to come for the grace of God when it is tainted by these souls which YES should b encouraged to change and indeed pittied for there selfish behaviour …?
        I have experienced bulling of the elderly …the poor and the disabled lady vicar ! By another vicar ! And tolerated this but now I see this is not for me ? I’d rather spread the grace of the LORD and support the congregation I know outside the church and decide that church if it encourages this for the sake of money in the tray ..has indeed lost its way ?
        I feel very sad as I passed the church this morning I didn’t go in..I gave God a hello and prayed for the elderly and infirm to find peace …elsewhere let the greed of money as and the church come to there own sin sadly I passed for if Jesus returned to us today ? How disappointed he would be in there behaviour .

      • Maureen Western says on

        I have recently become an abused/excluded member of my church. I was prevented from entering the body of the church to sit in my usual place, I was escorted to the annex used by the Sunday School for the duration of the adult preparations, collected and escorted for the Blessing. then escorted out of the church.
        I was physically prevented from joining in with a social activity I had always joined with.
        I was collected in due time for the Blessings and immediately escorted out of the church before the service was complete. Not allowed to communicate with my friends.
        it was distressing as well as demeaning. I have no idea why I was treated thus except that I am not the most socially adept member finding it quite hard to communicate with some people, due to poor hearing

        I intend to go to church as usual this week if only to test the “temperature’. If I am not welcome still, there are other more ‘Christian venues’ They are the losers not me!!!!!!1

      • Christina smith says on

        Joy I man dealing with similar things In the worship team, we have now a new leader that doesn’t sing yet is over us for what, I have no clue! She has all these bully traits!!!

      • You have answered your own question my friend
        Over you
        This seems to be a primitive aspect of a remanent of human nature , sin, survival ,to need to be dominant .or in control .
        If we do have self control then a will fights to gain this over others. It is a battle that has not been relinquished Jesus has already won.
        Jesus is true . The meek and gentle spirit who was not shy at demonstrating His indignation in the temple
        Keep sure that He is with you whenever you may go.
        May Jesus come in us all and by His power and grace raise
        Us above the concepts that inhibit the
        Holy Spirit to move ,to do more than we can imagine.
        May we see the lion and the lamb reconciled
        For me it is to express His love in me freely but at the same time recognising
        that l must not create a stumbling block for others.
        It has to be His way. The practice of self control rather than controlling behaviours. or compiling to sin filled, deceptive status quo of suppression, oppression and depression.
        The damage caused by fear needs healing . Forgiving .
        I will stand with you on the rock of our salvation my friend.
        He will uphold us.
        May conviction not shame be our shield. The fortress of safety
        His name.
        Rejoice and He will set the captives free

      • Gregory Franks says on

        Mr. Rainer, I’ve been a member of my church since i was a kid. 53 years and I’ve never wittnessed before what I’ve wittnessed since our recent pastor change. The bulling from her to me and how she has caused such havoc with me and other congregation members, trying to drive me out for speaking out on this. I’ve went to the bishop on these issues and all he did was make things worse by confronting the pastor without a meeting with the both of us face to face. Common sense would tell anyone the situation would continue.
        What do i do from here ?
        This church is my home.
        The things I’ve seen done to others who’ve come in need of help have been mocked or shunned away.
        Who can i get to stop this ruining of our church and members ?

      • Jesus. He fights on our behalf .
        I don’t mean to sound trite but He can move mountains.
        Pray open your heart to Him and there you will find a home for you ,and those He cares for ,a safe refuge . A place of healing the hurt and renewing .

    • The primary reason why most people will not stand up to bullies is because they tend to give a lot of money which in turn gives them a sense of entitlement and ownership. Giving is often used by bullies to manipulate and get their way as is the threat of leaving altogether. A simple and effective way to stand up to bullies is to show them the door whenever they threaten to leave.

      • Margaret says on

        AMEN. We have a small congregation that depends on bully contributions to keep the doors open, which is so very sad. The bullies threaten and sometimes do limit their monetary support to advance their agenda.

      • Ms. Margret, What does the Sr. Pastor have to say about these Bullies? and dose he have any help? Please Reply. Donnie E.

      • Trisha Wheeler says on

        Dear Margret
        God bless that you. See this as I cannot encourage this behaviour the more we walk away maybe the more they will question why there churches and quoffers are empty ? And realise before too long it is not our not wanting to worship the LORD but the devil has the last laugh

      • Anne-Margaret Welton says on

        Sorry but that’s not true, and I’m speaking out against this anti-rich and stereotyping comment. The bullies of my church were the poorest in the group – from the poorest families. I put up with it for almost 4 decades. I now just watch Joel Osteen from the comforts of my own home bc no one has the courage to stand up. Their families are a strong force in our church. It is simply put, those who bully – bully! There are sociopathic/narcissistic souls in all walks of life, economically, racially, etc. No need to single out wealth

      • Wealth seems to be a large factor in our church. It is subtle, but obvious to the ones of us that do not have that wealth. I love my church and it’s members, but really do not like seeing the pastor and others look away from the wrongdoing of the wealthy.

      • True. I heard a saying that the devil is not fighting the church, he is joining it… 🙂 You are exactly right. It doesn’t always have to do with how much money they give the church. I have seen it both ways. The same way with people who complain about everything, even when it is good. Some people will complain if their ice cream is cold.

      • Andrea Blackshear says on

        Truth here!!

      • Or, they are sleeping with someone in leadership. Sad to say but it happens.

      • Southern Lady says on

        The pastor and his wife at the church I was attending
        has recently resigned which was a huge surprise to me.
        I saw them as lifelong leaders of that church. His father
        was the previous pastor and had
        stayed much longer and retired at an older age.
        For them to leave at a relatively young age
        makes me wonder why they’re leaving. I was there a
        long time under their leadership but left because
        honestly I couldn’t take their bullying tactics any longer.
        The pastor often attacked me verbally from
        the pulpit, like he was trying to get me to
        leave the church. His wife wasn’t much better.
        I hoped I was imagining it until
        my grown son asked me one day why the pastor pointed
        at me and said what he said. One of my friends also
        started noticing and asked me what was going on.
        I honestly didn’t know. I hoped my family hadn’t
        noticed. I finally left reluctantly, as I loved the church
        and the pastor and his family. I never took part in any
        campaign or any thing to come against the pastor in any way.
        I just wanted him to let me grow spiritually there, yet
        I felt I was constantly being rejected by him. Anyway,
        the only reason I know they left is because a woman that
        still attends told so me at the grocery store last week.
        She assumed I knew.
        We didn’t discuss it much, but I get the feeling she
        was hiding something. There will be a new pastor and
        they’re even changing the name of the church. I haven’t
        attended there in over 5 years. I love God and always will.
        But now I don’t know how to ask current members
        I happen to see here or there if the pastor and his
        family will still be there in the congregation without
        starting gossip. I hear pastors that retire, but stay in the
        same church as members instead of leaders,
        often can’t give up control
        and end up giving unwanted advice to the new pastor.
        Anyway, my point is, sometimes the bullying comes
        from the pulpit, not always from the congregation.
        No matter where it comes from, it’s always wrong. Shaming
        people from the pulpit is wrong, and he never once talked
        privately with me about it on his own, which is the biblical
        way to do it. I had to take the first step and schedule two
        meetings with him and twice he denied there was anything
        wrong. But obviously he had something against me.

      • I love my church I do. I’m in a transition with having a better relationship with God. However. Some of these stick out with me. The pastor we have almost 70% of the time continuously talks about how the rent needs to be paid offerings and money I feel like you talk about money too much and I don’t believe that that should be talked about 70% of the time in church? God forgive me for saying it but something just seems off.. it is a very small church as well. My dad can’t afford to have that guilt on his shoulders when he’s supposed to be worshipping and focusing on God not the churches bills…

      • Yes that is how I feel, the pastor in my church allows the leadership to bully her because they all give the most money and they have more money than me. It’s like the bullies use their financial status to bully weaker members in the church.

    • I think what makes things worse is when someone tries to stand up to bullies, there are a lot of excuses, or claims that they know more, or worse, that they are forgiven, so it doesn’t matter what I think or how I feel. When I used to be at a church where people bullied, I reduced my attendance to maybe once every two months. I would only go back just to see if anything would be different. When people would ask me why I would not go to church, I would tell them it is because every time I am at church, people are just downright mean and don’t care about anything. When I said that, they just said that going to church will make people better. How does going to church make people better when they do not even make an effort to be better people. Bullies seem to know how preach “from the pulpit”, but they do not know how to carry out their faith. I am not necessarily talking about pastors, I am referring to members who think that they know it all. I think that the motto of every church should be practice what you preach.

    • Sometimes Bullies are in Leadership and no one will stand up to them as it seen as “speaking against Moses”

    • Linda Redenbaugh says on

      What’s worse is when you run to a church for sanctuary and you find the bully that is even larger than the one you were trying to get away from in the world! One that I belong to slanders relentlessly largely throughout your community and even gets inside your computer remotely and plays games so that you cannot even send an email to conduct your business. When finally you make progress then plays with the screen size until it is so small that you cannot even see enough to try and fix it. And that just a day after your dad dies…its the coldest most loveless place there is.

    • Connie Powers says on

      I agree so much with what you say regarding #7. The Body needs to stand together, and support what is right and true, as well as protecting the “fragrance” of our testimony by addressing this behavior. We are called to mercy, also to truth. These individuals that sow such damage can only continue if there are ears and hearts around them that tolerate the behavior.

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