DENVER - As counterintuitive as it might sound, many pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers are attacked, accused, and maligned to such a degree that they either leave the ministry, are forced to resign, or are fired outright.
Longtime minister Dr. Chris Creech wrote The Antidote: Real Biblical Cures for Toxic Churches, Ministries and Lives to help heal those who have been traumatically harmed by conflict while engaged in Christian ministry. The book helps Western and Asian pastors and missionaries learn why they endure abuse, how to prevent it, and how to stop it once it has begun.
Creech first became aware of this problem when he and his wife, Faith, were raising support to serve as missionary faculty members at a seminary in Singapore. Eventually, Creech learned that while many programs address surface issues that cause conflict, they fail to recognize an important truth: those who are addicted to attacking others often do so because they learned as children to validate themselves by either criticizing others or allowing the criticism of others. Until this underlying cause of conflict is addressed, notes Creech, those who enter conflict resolution may seemingly change their behavior only to revert to destructive, instilled patterns of behavior, once again causing or allowing conflict.