The consulting and programming I offer will help you do your best work under both the customary and the unusual challenges of ministerial practice and congregational life. Among the latter of these challenges is serving or leading a congregation with a history of clergy misconduct.*
I have worked with hundreds of clergy from a variety of faith traditions as they sought to serve well congregations with a history of clergy misconduct. Helping clergy navigate this challenge and helping congregations heal is the focus of my ministry. Overtime this focus has broadened to include supporting clergy serving in ministry settings with other kinds of difficult histories, those who have experienced intense conflict, acts of violence, or chronic dysfunction as well as ministry settings whose dynamics are similarly challenging but whose histories do not appear to have been unusually difficult.
The Programs I offer provide insight into the dynamics of affected congregations and outline short and long term strategies to address these challenges. Consultations with individual clergy provide strategic support, customized to a specific ministry setting and focused on ministerial relationships, that equip clergy to both serve and survive well.
*The link between a predecessor’s misconduct and the unique challenges experienced by subsequent clergy and lay leaders was first suspected three decades ago. I experienced this link in my own parish work and have witnessed it since in the unhappy shorter than expected tenures of able colleagues. Not all congregations with these histories experience subsequent difficulties but many do. Those that do have symptoms similar to those observed in communities and individuals post trauma or after complicated grief are often present. Effected congregations evidence a pattern of unhappy relationships with subsequent ministers. They fail to thrive despite good enough efforts to address chronic difficulties. They perpetuate a culture of distrust, secret keeping and anxious reactivity that is reluctant or unable to confront misconduct and other boundary violating behaviors. This relational pattern, chronic failure and anxious culture make everything lay and clergy leaders try to do far more challenging than in an unaffected congregation.