I've got a book at the house that I got a long time ago called "Tired of Trying to Measure Up..."
It was written by Jeff VanVoderen. I don't know anything about him. (So don't write to say anthing about him.) I found the following section of the book interesting food for thought.
"In a healthy functioning church system, God is the source of the acceptance, love and value. The pastor, leaders and teachers are there as the helpers and equippers of the other members. Their job, as in a family, is to use their positions of power and authority to equip members for the work of service by serving, building and providing need-meeting experiences, messages and relationships.
"There are some religious systems, however, where what the people think, how they feel and what they want or need doesn't matter. Their needs go unmet. In these dysfuntional systems the members are there to meet the needs of the leadership. When this happens in the spiritual area, it amounts to spiritual abuse.
"Where there is spiritual abuse there are people who, through spiritual means, attempt to meet their own needs for importance, power, intimacy, value, or spiritual (really, self-related) gratification. They attempt to find spiritual fulfillment through religious performance of the very people whom they are there to build up and serve.
"When anyone with a position of power and authority uses that power to manipulate, or to shame others into performing, it is spiritually (also emotionally and psychologically) damaging. Again, this is wounding to the victim. And the place that's supposed to be the most safe for people becomes the least safe."
May we all learn Grace, peace, love and understanding.
Jesus gave His life that we may have Life in God.