the shape of leadership

How to Deal with Spiritual Abusers

A conversation with Jim Bradford

George P Wood on April 4, 2024


The entire second half of 1 Samuel is the story of an abuser hunting down a victim,” according to Jim Bradford. The abuser is King Saul, and his intended victim is David. “Saul literally threw spears,” Bradford notes; “abusive leaders do so figuratively.

I recently heard Bradford preach a sermon about responding to abusive authority based on 1 Samuel and thought it would make an excellent podcast. After all, it seems that every few weeks news breaks about a pastor who has used their position trust for selfish gain. Christians — whether church leaders or laypeople — need to know how to respond.

So, I’ve invited Bradford onto the podcast today to talk about how to deal with spiritual abusers. I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influence magazine and your host.

Jim Bradford, Ph.D., is an ordained Assemblies of God minister; lead pastor at Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri; former AG general secretary; and a longtime mentor and friend.

This episode of the Influence Podcast is brought to you by My Healthy Church, distributors of Bible Engagement Project.

Bible Engagement Project equips churches with free curriculum for preschool, kids, youth, and adults, available in both English and Spanish. The curriculum library provides you with discipleship resources that transform lives and anchor your church in the Bible.

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