Clergy Mobbing. Has this happened to you?


Dear Pastor,
I am writing you regarding a very important research study investigating “mobbing” and clergy. Mobbing occurs when a small group of people force a pastor out of a church.  I am hoping you will forward this email to Pastors or post information about this research in a newsletter, blog or website.  A more detailed description is provided at the end of this letter.

Mobbing has not been empirically researched in church settings, which is a way of saying it doesn’t exist in the academic literature, and is therefore not recognized as something that actually happens.  This research is about how we can change that in order to begin a meaningful conversation regarding how to help pastors and congregations prevent and/or overcome this experience.

As part of my Doctorate work at Florida Atlantic University (Department of Counselor Education) I am investigating clergy mobbing and I am asking you to please assist me in getting the word out to pastors (Senior, Associate, Assistant, Executive, Youth Pastors, Worship leaders: anyone serving in a pastoral/ministry position in a church) to participate in this research.  

If you have experienced mobbing I urge you to participate in this study. Participation will consist of going to this secure research website: <>  and completing a short demographic questionnaire and three short questionnaires. This takes about 20 minutes and does not have to be completed in one visit.

All information and collected data is completely confidential, secure and protected. No identifying information will be collected and there are no obligations, advertisements, requests, promotions or commercial activities associated with this research whatsoever, it is strictly and only for research purposes.  The risks involved with participating in this study are no more than one would experience in regular daily activities.  To learn more about the study please visit the “Clergy Mobbing” Facebook page I have created: Clergy Mobbing on Facebook <>  .

I’m happy to speak with you regarding this research (to let you know that I am an actual person who loves the Lord and feels very called to this research) and I may be reached at 954-224-1563 <tel:954-224-1563>  (This is my personal cell phone and is for your use only, please do not give this out).  I may also be contacted at <> .   

Thank you for helping with this important project in any way possible!

Steve Vensel, Doctoral Candidate
Florida Atlantic University
Department of Counselor Education

Mobbing is an emotional assault in which a hostile workplace environment is created through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting.  Mobbing is defined as the prolonged malicious harassment of a coworker by a group of other members of an organization to secure the removal from the organization of the one who is targeted. Usually a single individual initiates the mobbing by gathering others to participate in malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace. Mobbing involves a small group of people and results in the humiliation, devaluation, discrediting, degradation, loss of reputation and the removal of the target through termination, extended medical leave or quitting. In a church workplace setting “coworkers” may include other clergy, staff, volunteers, elders, deacons, and/or congregation members.