Sunday, May 27, 2007

Review: The Wounded Minister by Guy Greenfield

The Wounded Minister: Healing From and Preventing Personal Attacks by Guy Greenfield is an examination of so-called 'clergy-killing' personalities and how to prevent them from wrecking ministries and ministers.

The author is a Southern Baptist pastor who experienced great success in his own lengthy career until his final pastorate, which ended while he was in his early 60s. Greenfield was surprised to find himself in a poisonous church environment which ultimately drove him out of his pulpit. He now counsels pastors whose lives and careers have been wrecked by those called 'clergy killers'.

All of his stories and most of his advice is primarily applicable to pastors in denominations with congregational governments. Many of these problems, such as sudden and arbitrary termination, could not happen in episcopal denominations, such as the United Methodist Church. He does, however, lift up the UMC institution of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee as something that every church should have, although I think that he misunderstands its function in United Methodist polity.

Greenfield also examines pathological ministers who destroy congregations and ruin the lives of fellow clergy members and staff, and suggests various structural changes that could prevent or deter abuse in a congregational polity. Personally, I found the book interesting, if not immediately applicable to my own ministry.


Rev. C. S. Roberts said...

I have read "Clergy Killers" and "Well-Intentioned Dragons." I haven't read this book. However, the best book I have read on this subject is called, "Never Call Them Jerks." This book on church conflicts helps pastors examine themselves throughout church conflict. I think we pastors need to be more self-aware and less blaming.

Rev Casey McKibbon said...

I appreciate the review and the comments. I have been in the 'church' fight ' busines in Canada for over 30 years.
Our network supports clergy facing bullying, harrassment, firing, and abuse from congregations and church bureaucrats.
I would like your permission to use your review as an intro to the link we will put to the book on our page. Can you let me know?
I am in Ottawa Canada

John said...

Sure, go ahead.

Knapsack said...

Um, the PPRC/PRC model has spread among mainline/oldline Prot denoms for some time -- but clergy killers have figured this out, and it is a pretty co-optible design. I appreciate the ref'n on this book, and on "Never Call Them Jerks," as CPE has helped me with, um, "challenging" church members more than anything else. You have to know what buttons they're pushing inside you, because button pushing patterns are a big part of what "clergy killing" is as a general rule. They rarely want to "destroy" you as much as control you (and the church), and they've developed some reliable strategies over decades to manage and maneuver.