Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Controlling, Abusive Pastor

In the book of Jeremiah, God spoke against those who operated in their own authority while abusing the very people they were supposed to bless.

"An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?" (Jeremiah 5:30-31)

Leaders were using their influence to convince people that their power was divine. Yet in reality, these false prophets and priests were merely wielding their self-imposed influence for personal gain, claiming they were speaking for God. The people bought the lies and believed all the promises that were made. This happened in the Old Testament and it's happening today. Don't let it happen to you!

Here is a list of some common characteristics of a controlling, abusive pastor.....

*Preoccupied with his own needs being met, while the needs of the people are ignored.

*Focuses on his own never-ending quest for personal fulfillment and happiness, while the real needs of the people are lost or forgotten.

*Expects the people to obey his every command without question.

*Preaches on his spiritual authority every week, constantly reminding everyone that he is in charge.

*Tries to take the place of Jesus in people's lives.

*Tells people they cannot leave the church with God's blessing unless he approves the decision.

*Uses scripture in order to gain biblical grounds to control people's lives.

*Instills a sense of obligation by reminding the people of everything he has done for them.

*Demands loyalty and honor from the people.

*Demands performance from people, not accepting them for who they are.

*Thinks the people in his congregation belong to him.

*Manipulates people into giving their money.

*Has an elitist attitude and says that no one else is preaching the gospel as good as he is.

*Overly concerned with appearances

*Has no respect for other churches or denominations.

*Is insecure, jealous, and cowardice

*Uses fear and intimidation to keep people from leaving his organization or church.

*This information is from the book "Toxic Faith," by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton.


C said...

Good List. Sure hits close to home when I compare to my former pastor.

Anonymous said...

Had one. Not fun!

Aida said...

Same here. It seems that the behavior of insecure pastors follows a pattern. Hopefully as we speak out, people will begin to see the danger signs and run, not walk, away from these type of controlling leaders.

The institutional church overall is silent about this. Thanks for all you do to increase awareness of what's going on.

John said...

Last summer my wife and I left a church where the leadership wanted to control everything. This seemed to stem from insecurity on their part. Anyone who was actively involved in the church who didn't agree with their liberal theology was made to feel unwelcome. They also seemd to not want anyone in the church who might be able to do thins better than they can. We left when things became untenable for us. good to have htis issue raised I couldn't find any web sites about it while we were in the middle of the situation. So have set one up - have linked to here from it - hope you don't mind let me know if you would like me to remove the link, site is

woundedWarrior said...

These are some of the qualities that my pastor too has. He keeps threatening that anybody who leaves the church without his decision would die and go to hell and God himself would take vengeance against such a member. I feel I'm into spiritual slavery . I have felt many times that he has manipulated scripture to meet his selfish motives. Now he wants me to move closer to his house so that he can control me more (though he gives different excuses). There are forced covenants that he has made us take regarding a business that the church should start. We are only 6 members and its a home church. I'm frustrated and can not even talk back for the fear of speaking against authority. There are times when I thought suicide would be a way out. But suicide I believe would be a direct ticket to hell so I don't dare to tale such a step. On the other hand I want to fulfill the plan and purpose for which God has sent me to the world. I'm crying out to lord to help me. Can ask you guys for prayers though.

Set Free said...

To wounded warrior:
Your comment deeply touched me and I am concerned for you. I can really relate to what you are dealing with. I want to start out saying that I know you feel like you can't leave, but that is what you need to do. This pastor is controlling you and God Himself doesn't even do that. God gives us free will and doesn't make us do anything. This pastor is manipulating you by using fear. I was in a church for 22 years and I was afraid that if I left something bad would happen to me, but just the opposite happened when I left. I felt so free and I've never been happier. God would never send you to hell for leaving a church - He is not looking for ways to keep people out of heaven. He wants to get people in.

I know what you mean about "speaking against authority." That is just another lie controllers use to keep people under their rule. I saw things that I wanted to speak against, but I never could. If we spoke out against our pastor we would be severly rebuked, talked about from the pulpit or even made to leave. What I realized is that he had a hold over us and made us believe he was the authority, but not true! God is the only authority we are truly under and He is not a harsh ruler. He is gentle and kind. My pastor was just a punk trying to keep people under his control so he could have his way and mainly so he could get their money.

Please, please realize that God would never put that kind of pressure on you. I felt that I would have to move to another state to get away from it, but I got the courage to leave and it was the best decision I ever made. It was a hard decision and it was tough to walk through, but I can't even describe how great it feels to be out from under that control.

Please email me. I want to talk to you further. My email is:

Aida said...

Wounded Warrior, your post touched my heart too and I felt the hurt and pain in what you wrote. I agree wholeheartedly with Set Free. Leave that place of bondage and don’t look back. God loves you and would never send you to hell since you’re his child. That pastor is a bully who is using fear and lies to manipulate you and he’ll continue to abuse you as long as you remain under his control. You’re in great danger if you stay there so please leave immediately. God has set you free but you have to take the first step to live free.

Wounded said...

And the only reason I go through this all without murmuring a word is that I don't want to offend God. There are times when I feel that I fear my pastor more than my God, which is wrong. I love my God and I know he loves me too. And I don't know if it would be right on my side to just leave the pastor and walk away. Or should it be that he should release me with blessings (which I don't see in the near future). I don't know what's right. I know for sure that his controlling and spiritual abuse is not right.

Also last week he forced us to get into a covenant that we'll all stay together and obey the Godly authority above us etc some points. Before he asked us to participate in the covenant he said if anybody wants to leave they can leave. And he threatened that anybody who does not participate in the covenant would have a very bad future and he would have a tough time throughout his life time and that it would be equivalent of choosing to go to hell. In short he had left no other option than to participate in the covenant. Now I don't know how genuine is the covenant as it was a forced one. He threatened us to participate in it. Though one of the points is that if anybody breaks the covenant he'll be judged by God's word.
I'm sure that God knows in what situation did we have to sign that covenant. Anyway I just know that I love my lord and he loves me too.

Please pray :(

Set Free said...

To wounded warrior,
I emailed you back, but not sure you received it because I haven't heard back. I just want to tell you that you are not going to offend God and I know He doesn't want you to fear a man. Your pastor's threats are wrong! He is not God and He has no right to tell you that you will have a bad future. He is not your judge and he cannot tell you that you will go to hell. God is not looking to judge you, he sees your heart and knows you want to please Him. I pray that you will take courage and take back control of your life and get away from this pastor and fast as you can.

Ladynspain said...

Wounded Warrior, I trust that you will be able to get up and leave this abusive place. The others who have posted here are right; the pastor's threats are wrong and you need to break away from him and his influence.

I have attended a church with my family for the past 14 years. Very small, only about 40 members. During much of that time we were without a pastor; not an ideal situation, but God enabled us to go through that time working together as a team, and meeting each others' needs. A few years ago, a pastor was called. Lots of mistakes were made in calling him (no references ever asked for to start with), and he has developed into a manipulative, controlling, horrible shepherd of the sheep. Last May I resigned my membership because he told me that "there is no one over me and the elders of this church." Because my husband didn't resign, I continued to attend services. After all, I have 14 years worth of friends there, and this is a very small town, so I don't want to look for another place to worship.

Because of work, we travel a bit, and were gone for six months. Instead of building up the church and moving on with life during our absence, this pastor and the elders plotted what they would do with/to us when we returned. Yesterday we met with them. To my shock, they are now ordering me to rejoin the church. But to do this, I have to write a letter where I ask forgiveness of the congregation for making them discouraged by withdrawing my membership last year. When I said I didn't think that was the right thing to do, they told me that I may attend church on Sunday mornings only, but I may not attend any other fellowship meetings at church, no prayer meeting, ladies' meetings, no church social gatherings. And, because the pastor is not happy with me, I may not take communion either.

So, I am very sad to say this, but we will have to find another place to worship. We cannot allow ourselves to be bullied by a pastor and his cronies who are just hirelings for the sheep.

Anonymous said...

Wounded warrior. rest assured that anything or anyone that says God is ever going to be angry with you again is a liar, it is a complete lie. God was angry with Jesus on the cross when He took the worlds sin. His anger was completely exhausted, there is none left. have you heard of joseph prince? nothing that promotes or produces fear is ever from God. He is love, and love casts out every fear. Peace to you!

Anonymous said...

It is good to have a trusted pastor in another city or state who you can consult with. Also, find a minister online, radio, or tv (just be careful) who feeds you spiritually.

Isolation is a controlling technique - we need to be able to tell false teachers like Jim Jones, "Have a good trip, be sure and send me a postcard".

Also, let the Holy Spirit guide you in scriptures -

Donna Edgar said...

We have been attending a small church for about 5 months now. They voted in a new pastor about 4 months before we joined. At first he was very kind and very flattering. My husband and I have a gospel music ministry and travel quite a bit singing at diffrent churches as we are called. Shortly after we joined, I began to notice the pastor was always angry with one or two members who were elders. He did not turn that onto us so I dismissed it has either poor commmunication skills or a bad church member. He took my husband and myself aside to tell us we needed to sing in our own church at least on Sunday mornings and not be gallavanting around eles where. The following Saturday night we got a desperate call from that elder telling us that a church needed some singers for a special event going on and he recommended us. The pastor from the other church found out he had cancer, and was not thinking to his full copacity and forgot to book a group for that day. We gladly went and sang for that group and help out a brother in trouble. There was no question in our minds,a brother needed help - we went to help. The pastor where we are currently attending has been cold as ice ever since, he has made personal attacks on my husband and has said personal things to me which I felt were crude. He got into the pulpit Sunday night and told the congregation that if they didn't straighten up he would not wait until his year was over he would leave right now, and if he left then the doors to our church would be chained and locked. There was a few of us who stood up to him and a few more who praised him like he was the messiah. Needless to say we are on the bottom in the out-house. My husband says he doe not feel the Lord wants us to move,but stay to help pick up the pieces. I want to stay to reveal this person for what he really is. We have both been praying, it is very upsetting. BUT I know whom I believe in and He will protect us and see that the truth comes out. In the mean time, how should I conduct myself with out wanting to smack his arrogant face? I'm just being honest about the way I feel. Something I feel is lacking in our churches is not standing up to pulpit bullys.

Set Free said...

Donna, You have to weigh the options because staying in this environment is not healthy for you or your family. There are people who will stay and support this man no matter what and of course a pastor like this will NOT change. As long as he has these people brainwashed you can't help them. They have to see it for themselves and if you try to tell them the pastor will make you out to be evil. If you are tough enough to handle it and think you can make a difference, then go for it, but my advice would be to cut your losses and run. You may not think it's affecting you now, but you will look back and see how you were it has cost you. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I've been where you are and I understand this situation. It is so sad that churches and pastors who are supposed to help people end up only hurting innocent Christains. The Bible tells us to watch out for people like this and stay away from them. I hope you can go into the new year knowing what to do and be filled with peace.

Donna Edgar said...

Dear Set free, I have been reading other articles concerning this narsistic abuse. Most do advise leaving. We have been praying that the Lord would reveil and heal. WE know there is nothing we can do in the flesh as we realize we are fighting against evil in the pulpit. We just do not feel it's time to tuck-tail and run. There are older folks at risk who also know "something" is wrong, and I guess we feel like the Lord has had enough of pulpit bulling. Someone has got to stand up to them, it is after all God's house. Please pray for us as we feel the Lord is calling on us to fight. By the way, name calling, shunning and the like was a way of life for me into my adulthood. I have been manipulated and I have manipulated. Praise God for setting this captive free. We may end up wounded warriors, but for now we are putting on the full armor of God and we have the sword of the Lord. Prayers are seriously requested for our protection. Thank you my Brothers and Sisters.

Aida said...

Donna, I totally understand where Set Free is coming from and I would agree that in most cases, the best thing to do is leave. However, I honestly don’t feel that’s always the answer. I was in an abusive church for three years and I know God sent me there. However, it didn’t take long for me to see that something was wrong and I wanted to leave but every time I decided to leave, God wouldn’t let me. I was absolutely miserable the entire time and cried most of the time but I knew I couldn’t leave. Things got really bad as the pastor got more paranoid and more controlling and it got pretty scary.

Finally, after three years, I decided to leave along with other members and this time God didn’t stop me. Yes, I left hurt and confused but now after almost 12 years away, I can honestly say that there’s been no permanent damage. Although I would never recommend anyone staying in that type of environment, for me it was the right thing to do because it started in me a process of growth and freedom that is continuing today.

I think before someone decides to stay, it’s important to weigh where that person is on their journey. A person who is young in the faith needs to get out as quickly as possible since their faith is not yet fully developed. However, I had been a believer for well over twenty years at that point so I was not young in my faith. I knew God which is why I believe there was no permanent damage to me. I always knew that pastor was off and that knowledge helped me a great deal in keeping my bearings even in that crazy environment. That time was for me the beginning of a time of growing in freedom. Why it had to start there, I don’t know but it did.

Although I grew in that environment, I’m convinced that the deck is always stacked in the pastor’s favor. So, if you feel that you’re to stay, I think you need to go into the situation understanding that the possibility of effecting any change is highly unlikely. While you’re there, you may be able to encourage a few other members but that pastor will continue to put roadblocks in your path that will probably prevent any positive change.

Donna Edgar said...

Evil in the aisle / by donna edgar

Evil came and we shook it's hand and welcomed it in, seeing nothing but the sweet smiling mask that covered it's hideous grin. It walked up the aisle and sat in the pew and in a short while befriended me and you. It spoke and the sound was like a soft tinkering chime, and it's words offered comfort as in a melodious rhyme. Slowly and steady with pyrposeful style it began gathering followers from out of our aisles. And like lost sheep gathered to amuse, evil swayed to confine, hurt and abuse. The scriptures were twisted and watered down; still, it sounded good except to the true faithful who knew and now understood. To the few who refused, it publicly shunned, leaving the congragation fearful and stunned. "Better do as God tells you", it refered to it's self, "Or suffer hell's fire and be put on a shelf!" Fears were instilled, threats were made, and the body of Christ forgot who to obey. Many have said, "Leave that place", but someone must fight and re-claim this space, Just only a building made of stick and stone, but for the people it would stand deserted, alone. I pray; God please give this humble child the strength to stand and raise a righteous army throughout your land.Let the battle cry be "GOD AND GOD ALONE!", please Father, revealthe evil that seeks to take us from your throne. We all like sheep have gone astray, forgive us Lord and help us be brave. Send us an army, send in your troop for we cannot fight this evil without your truth. Oh Holy One, please hear my call. It is in Jesus name I pray for us all.

Donna Edgar said...

Hi, please let me know if you would rather I not post events in my church as they are happening, I guess I am hoping that what I see going on is some sort of misunderstanding on my part and for that reason I feel it's important to make "reports". The pastor seemed tense at Wensday night's bible study. He would not shake my hand and from time to time I would look up and catch him staring at me, then he would quickly look away. He did not speak a word to me, although he did talk a bit to my husband - but he did not offer to shake his hand either. We feel it is important to extend the right hand of fellowship in this neck of the woods. His wife was nice, but stand-offish. I wrote a poem about abusive leadership in the church, I posted it to my timeline and of course no names or places were mentioned. It was read by some of our members so I am assuming that is another reason for the cold shoulder by the pastor. The pastor has drawn a line in the sand with the elder that I mentioned before as he appointed himself to take over the sound system by bringing his own eqipment in and directing the choir which is the elders assigned job. The elder was not there tonight, only his wife and my husband could see she was upset by yet another wound the pastor has created between the two. This was unexspected,and self appointed. I sure hope this is making sense. Still my husband does not feel like the Lord is wanting us to leave - yet. I felt he was manipulating by trying to get everyone in the prayer circle to agree with him. Again one of the other elders mentioned to my husband that if the pastor left and took his equipment with him, the church doors would be chained and locked. Fear tactics comes to mind. Any way thanks for letting me sound off. God bless you all.

Donna Edgar said...

Sunday. AGAIN! I was asked by one of the faithful to sing a song which deals with our sin condition and how, if we let Jesus in, He would clean the sinful "rooms of our hearts". I believe she was hoping the pastor would get under conviction and ask Jesus to clean his heart. I don't know if it worked or not. I prayed that the Lord would do just that,as I would rather have him as a brother than the alternative. Again he avoided us, not making eye contact or offering to shake our hands,but that also may be for the best. The Elder I spoke about was sick today and was not there. I noticed that the preacher seemed in a great mood, but I don't know if that was the reason why. Another member who is in charge of the sound room made a comment to my husband about the Elder not being in church,saying that he was most likely not going to be around too much longer anyway. We thought that was strange, but decided we would keep it under our hat. Tonight we went to another church. The preaching, music and fellowship was like a breath of fresh air. It made us realize how much stress we have been under. I don't know how long we are going to hold out at the church we are going to. My husband has been having nightmares and I feel restless myself. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Thanks for the ear, and God bless.

Donna Edgar said...

Whoa! Church, this just keeps getting more and more tangled. Wensday's service was just about out of control. It was revealed the pastor had a DUI from another county less than a year ago. That is a fact, not gossip,...others things being said are not proven and I will not repeat them. The pastor and the elder I spoke of before got into a very heated argument at which the pastor told the men he was taking control of everything from now on and again if he left the church would be chained and half of the people would leave with him, blah, blah, blah...The elder I mentioned before called his bluff and told him to just leave. He didn't. Tonight's business meeting will not be a happy one I am sure and unless this pastor repents and gets help, then we will be finding a healthy church,....somewhere. Is there any left?? Please pray as I am feeling like I have nothing on the inside.

Wonderbread said...

I too was hurt by an abusive and controlling pastor, and by the church. The pastor attacked me from the pulpit in a very passive aggressive manor, and behaved inappropriately with me on several occasions. His wife yelled at us during a women's group because she couldn't reach her husband one day, how he needed a day off because some of us in the church are so needy and we take time away from her and her husband--yes she actually said that to us. I finally made the decision to leave, only to hear, after I left, all the hateful and hurtful gossip about me being insane, or an alcoholic etc... just because I had problems and I left. This was also my first experience in a Christian group. How can I trust again? I'd like to come back to a church, but how do I know which one to choose? I've attempted going to two new churches on two different Sunday's but I keep having panic attacks when I pull into the parking lots, believing that what happened to me before will happen again and I just leave. How do you get over the hurt and how do you trust again?

Donna Edgar said...

Oh Dear Wonderbread,
Praise God that you found this site. Remember what God said about ALL things working for the good of those that love Him? Romans 8:28. Having just come out of the same situation, we reconized that the Lord can take this horrible, negitive, satan devised scheme and use it for our good. We are stronger now, we know what to look for now, and we know, no matter what man may says about us as long as we follow what God says, then what others say is not important. We know what we DON'T want to be like. The Bible is full of warnings about false teachers. Of course they are going to say bad things about you and us, or anyone who is brave enough to call a spade, a spade. I mean, really!! How dare we seek and speak the word of God!! How dare we not!! The devil wants you defeated, weak and not doing as the Lord wants. You get over the hurt by believing you are a child of the Most High, you trust again by knowing He loves you and knowing that God is always renewing your mind, always waiting for you to surrender your will to His prefect will. Philippians 1:6 Says; " Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.... Much of my spiritual growth has come out of hardship, not that I want to struggle because peace is important. But that peace comes from trusting that God is going to lead me out of the fire or surrendering my will stuborn will to God who knows what is best for me. It is not wrong to observe a pastor or his wife. Do you see anger or peace? Are they sober or given to drink? Are they full of pride, arrogant or are they humble willing to do the least meaningful task? Remember Jesus washing feet? Do they care more for their own comfort more than that of their flock? Do they and the deacons have meetings in secrect? Does the pastor talk negitive about anyone? Do they shun anyone from the pulpit? If you see anything that resembles what you have gone through, leave that place. We are taking the advice from these wise folks and are doing just that. We have prayed for the people we love, as much as they want us to stay, but in accordance with God's word, we would only be agreeing with a false teacher if we stayed. There seem to be fewer and fewer churches that are still God centered, but PRAY, God will direct you to one because you are praying in His will and He will do it. He promised. God said 'Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.' The more you seek Him out, the more He will find a way for you.

Set Free said...

I can relate to your situation so well. My best friend, who was in the same church I was in had the same experience in the parking lot of a church whe was trying to attend. You are not alone. This is normal behavior for someone who was in an abusive church. The best thing to do is to continue talking about it. Don't hold it in. If you need to talk to me please feel free to email me. To trust again - it just takes time. I left my church almost 5 years ago and I still have a hard time trusting. I'm getting better with time, but it just takes time. I also recommend going to a therapist. The pastor of my former church is still talking about us. We were called evil, snakes, etc. The good thing is, he just resigned from being the pastor. I hope some of this helps. Plese feel free to vent here and ask questions if you want to.

Donna Edgar said...

Sunday,...It felt good to be away from all that controlling, angry, shunning, evil stuff. We went to a small church, that had a big heart. Jesus was definatly spoken there! The Elder and his wife that we had come to love and pray for quit that bad church and we attended worship with them Sunday night at the small church. We were blessed to see our prayers awnsered concerning them. But the poor fella cried after he quitely turned in his resignation. It about broke his heart. But better his heart break for a little while, than his soul to shatter for ever. My husband and I are glad and thankful for the lessons we learned and the insights the Lord gave us. We give God the praise. Thank you for being here and for the kindness you do to all the hurting abused who find your site.God bless, Donna

Wonderbread said...

I wanted to add this, since it's been a rather strange couple of weeks for me. I left my church months ago, and had been having the panic attacks when pulling into church lots--well, something strange and "Godly" happened. It would so happen I was getting rid of a very old car the other day--I was driving it to the junk yard to scrap it, when my tire blew out right in front of a church down the highway from me. I pulled into the parking lot and called the number, but no one answered. I called my husband, but he was in a meeting. I called everyone I knew, but no one could help me. So I waited.

Now, this is where it gets really strange--a truck drives up out of nowhere, so I ask if they can help me with my tire. (Yes, I'm a girly-girl who isn't great at anything mechanical, let alone changing a tire--but I can bake you an amazing pie ;) Well, the minister comes out, and he helps get my tire changed and starts talking to me. What was so strange about it is that the church I was in before, that minister once helped me change my tire, when I was new there and felt loved and welcomed. I took it as a sign from God and asked the pastor if I could talk to him, I also offered money for the collection plate because it was a "God-thing" he was there and could help me change my tire. After I walked into the church and his office and started to tell him about my experiences at my old church, he seemed abhorred, and told me that although we are all people and all fallible, that something like that should never happen at a church.

Now, my old pastor called me a "weirdo artist" because I do paint, and perform theater and I'm a little on the artistic side. When I told the new pastor this, he said, "don't you know Jesus was a weirdo too--that's why no one liked him." He told me that he could use an artist to help him with things at the church. He then also told me that his church (this is the new church my car broke down in front of) was a place of healing for many people because it was formed and started by a group of people who had been hurt by their pastor. So, yes, by this time the theme song for the "Twilight Zone" was going off in my head. After meeting with his wife, another pastor, having a tour of the building, and hearing about their children's programs, it's safe to say my whole family--kids included seem to have found a new church home. I also listened to his sermons and asked him if he ever attacked people from the pulpit--to which he responded, "I learned in bible school to never make a sermon about someone. Also, you can approach me, or confront me any time you'd like if you think anything I have ever said was about you." Needless to say, I'm very comforted by all of this. I will have to try the church for a while, and my whole defense system is not completely down--but I do feel God may have led me to a healing spiritual place. :)

Donna Edgar said...

Wonderbread!!!! That is Wonderful!! My husband and I was talking the other day about going through that sitiuation, we came through the victor's, because we had to study God's word and became stronger because of it. YOU GO GIRL!! Praise the LORD!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you all had to go through this. It happened to me too recently so I made and posted a video about my experience if anyone is interested at-

dikóssas chaver said...

Hello Everyone,
I thought I'd share my story. I recently moved to North Las Vegas, NV. and began attending The Potter's House Christian Fellowship Church. Initially, the "Pastor" appeared nice. He offered to give me car rides to services. He bought me dinner. He told me that God had sent me to them.

I let him have my phone number specifically to let me know the date and time of an upcoming church event. From that point on I began to be text messaged before each service about whether or not I would be attending. If my answer wasn't a definite "yes" he would want to know why. Any personal or family responsibilities I may have had that day didn't matter to the "Pastor". I was told "You need to be here" in a rude condescending tone.

He would also tell me strange baseless things were wrong with me if I couldn't attend every service, such as my life is based on feelings not truth or that I think everyone is against me and he could help me. When I finally told him he's being pushy and the things he says about me aren't true, he seemed to have a psychotic break and began calling me repeatedly, several times in just minutes (as my phone records show). He called me names. Everything I told him in confidence as a Pastor, such as my family problems or difficulty finding a job was suddenly being used to insult me through text messages.

It was all about control-think what he wants you to think is true, react how he wants you to react, do what he wants you to do. I stopped attending this church and emailed other Potter's Houses in the state about what happened,expecting some sort of outrage at what this "Pastor" had done. I got only one response from a Pastor that wanted me to email him the text messages. I never heard anything else from him after I did. And there never was any sort of apology given from the abusive "Pastor". Although this didn't affect my faith in God, I could see how the satanic behavior of these people could easily destroy someone's believe or trust in God. I'm sorry for everyone who has been hurt by evil churches and I hope it doesn't make you give up on God or living the way God wants you to. I made a short youtube video describing this experience, which also includes photos of the text messages at-

Anonymous said...

My pastor is abusive as well. Our ministry leaders are habitually belittled, oftentimes in front of the congregation; we've been told that he hears from God what we say about him (even that he is like a fly on the wall in our bedrooms) and God will avenge Him; he "rants" on a regular basis about how disobedient we are; he's very controlling, and we've been told that we are not welcome in his home or worthy of their family's fellowship because we would bring spirits with us.
It is the most unusual situation I've ever seen as I attend services at an Air Force Base chapel. No one has been willing to report him because as much as we know he is not right, no one wants to see him kicked out of the military because he has a family to support.
I love my fellow congregants; they are my family...we're all just trying to hold on until he moves to another duty station...but then, what about them? It's a very sad situation.

Donald Grim said...

Thank God for blogs like this. I can totally relate to everyone on this blogs. I went to a cult-like church for three years. The pastor assassinated my character on a Sunday that I wasn't at church. When I started to question him regarding the hypocrisy, I was targeted. I was told that if I left the church, I waould be walking away from Christ. My thought was if this is heaven, then I choose hell. I left that church about seven years ago, but it has been a long road. I spent years where could not even set foot in a church. I very disillusioned about church and God. I was in self-imposed exile from church and God for almost four years. But i will tell you that God was working on me the entire time. I could always sense God reaching out to me, but i would push Him away. Thank God for my Christian friends, for they helped me come back to God and learn to trust Him again. I'm going to a new church and have been for the last eight months. My church family has been very loving and supportive. For years, I was very cynical when it came to pastors. The pastor of my new church has shown me that not all pastors are bad. I'm learning to trust again, but with great caution. Never throw caution to the wind when trusting people, especially religious leaders. You must remember that the leader is not God, and God can speak very well for Himself. Listen to you instincts. God gave them to you for a reason. He wants you to use all of yoru faculties to discern what is truth and what is counterfeit. Ask God to help with this. God will help you if you will ask. Healing takes time. Don't allow anyone to rush this process. My heart goes out to all the people on this blog. Keep the faith and never lose hope. God wants you to get better, and God will lead you through this dark valley. God will carry you when you can no longer walk. He carried me for years and He will always have my gratitude. His grace is what keeps me going each day. Take care and God bless!!!

Donald Grim

leon said...

My wife and I have been separated from a church that was controlling and sometimes berating of the saints, when I read the bible it does not condemn the people but rather teach the people in the way that they should go, and to follow his instructions on making it to heaven. We had a leader that told us instead of asking us, and when we would not respond he would use that to gain power over the other saints. When we left the church we tried to keep in touch with our bro and sisters in Christ, but they were told not to communicate with us anymore, I know because he told me to not have anything to do with another saint that was backsliding, the bible says Gal 6:1-2 if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thy self, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. If not for a sister who is sill a member I would have done just what he wanted me to do! Thank God for his Holy Spirit for correction. The Spirit of God placed my wife and I in another church and the word is unadulterated, and there is no controlling in our new setting. No church is perfect but a good church is ran in decency and in order. Advice for someone who may be going thru this situation pray to God that he places you where he needs you to be, and pray for that pastor and church, that is important!

Anonymous said...

We were under the teaching and authority of a controlling
Pastor for over 20 years. I did not realize he was manipulating me and others. I thought he was a very close friend and I considered him a close and trusted friend. God began to open my eyes as our church shrank in number. I loved our church because it was the only church I ever attended. I began to see he was not caring for the church but only using it for his own purposes. I began to see him as a wolf instead of the guardian of the flock. My husband and I took Biblical steps to confront him and hoped he would repent. He did not. We brought in some outside witnesses and confronted him and he resigned, but actually getting him to leave was very difficult.
It was the hardest thing we ever did and I still can't believe it is done. I fear seeing him in public places, even though he has moved away. It's like I have PTSD. I am having difficulty trusting our new Pastor; I am so suspicious and I can smell manipulation a mile away. I don't think I will ever be the same. My emotions are all over the place, switching between sadness, depression, humiliation, embarrassment, rage, regret, guilt, loss. I hope I can move beyond my experiences some day. Other people in our church seem to be moving on without a problem but we are kind of stuck in the past. We were very close to the Pastor and knew so much more of what he was doing.