Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Hey Fletch … An article on XPastor mentions a doctoral dissertation by Dr. Art Hunt, I Never Expected This Would Happen To Me. I would be very grateful if you could let me know how I can contact Dr. Hunt for a copy of his dissertation. I am a social psychologist working on bullying in churches and religious groups. With many thanks for your help. There is much more happening in the United States about issues such as bullying and harassment—and abuse generally—than here in Europe.

DRF— Thanks for your note from across the Atlantic. The XPastor article that you are referring to, Exited Pastors: The Ruined Landscape by Roy Yanke. It is a great article. I especially found this comment to be insightful:

From the March 2012 issue of the Review of Religious Research, an online study found 28% of ministers said they had at one time been forced to leave their jobs due to personal attacks and criticism from a small faction of their congregations. 

Bullying and harassment has been done by church staff, leaders and congregants. We all need to follow the apostle Paul’s  words in Ephesians 4:15, speak the truth in love. The New Testament has plenty of advice about gossips, hate-mongers and rabble-rousers. If we have a conflict with someone, we need to go to that person directly and gently express our concerns. Those words are easy to say and challenging to carry out.

My next book is on a related topic, Predators in the Church. It will look at child sexual predators, active shooter and embezzlers. These cause enormous pressure on pastors. At one time being a pastor was considered a stress-free occupation, but that is not true any longer.

As to contacting Dr. Art Hunt, I have sent you an email on how you might contact him.