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Challenging Leaders (Nichols, Ed.)

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Christian Focus


A practical guide for church leaders looking to prevent, or navigate accusations of, pastoral malpractice.

Good spiritual leadership is vital to the health of a church. When leaders misuse their position and are controlling, egotistical and proud, they abuse the trust they have been given by the Lord. Abuse of power is not a new phenomenon however, it is an ancient biblical category, and must be addressed.There are delicate situations to be navigated. Drawing lines between abuse and normal, appropriate pastoral care, including warning, admonition and discipline is crucial, as is discovering when accusations are false.

The author team behind this book bring many years of pastoral experience, as well as wisdom and training in the area of abuse within the church.   

This book is for

–        Those struggling to navigate this hazardous landscape

–        Church leaders working through these issues

–        Churches seeking to create a healthy Christian community

Contents include

  1. Spiritual Abuse and Scripture
  2. Healthy Church Culture
  3. Abusive Church Culture
  4. Trauma and those who Suffer
  5. Developing Healthy Procedure
  6. Media and Abuse


Graham Nicholls is Director of Affinity, an organisation seeking to promote Christian unity and partnership throughout the British Isles. Graham provides strategic leadership of the ministry teams, and he regularly writes and speaks in the media. He is also one of the Pastors of Christ Church Haywards Heath and preaches there regularly. He is married to Caroline and has three grown up children.


… a wise and biblical resource that not only helps Christian institutions understand spiritual abuse, but provides practical steps to address it. May God use it to protect and purify his church

Michael J. Kruger, President and Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina

This book is full of practical advice on creating a church culture that is healthy, positive and safe. I’m especially pleased to see it coming from the independent church community, but there is valuable guidance here for churches more widely.

Marcus Honeysett, Director of Living Leadership and author, Kent, England

This book ought to be essential reading for the leaders of churches and organisations, and will challenge and encourage them to foster a healthy culture in which everyone can flourish.

John Stevens, National Director, Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, Market Harborough, Leicestershire

I pray that this book will help us, by God’s grace, to prevent the trauma of abuse by and of pastors from ever occurring in the culture of our churches but also to handle this sin in a healthier way, with the godly seriousness it deserves, when it does rear its ugly, gospel–denying head.

Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, and Adjunct Lecturer in Church History, Union School of Theology, Bridgend, Wales

Blending biblical depth, theological orthodoxy, gospel conviction, and pastoral concern, the authors navigate a field often dismissed by conservative evangelicals for miring itself in therapeutic language. … the love for the bride of Christ is obvious from start to finish. 

Stephen McAlpine, National Communicator: Third Space