Jump directly to the Content

Attachment Disorder Churches

If your people won't follow, it may be the result of past abandonment.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, several families I know have adopted children from Eastern Europe. As they grow, some of these children exhibit a set of extremely troubling symptoms: hostility, inability to form close relationships, and distrust of people, particularly authority figures. These children can become self-destructive, highly sensitive to rejection and anger, and blame everyone close to them for the problems in their lives.

Paradoxically, they often idealize their relationships initially and become preoccupied with them, so that they desire large amounts of contact and affection. However, break-ups are rapid, climactic, and destructive, and soon after one relationship ends, they begin to obsess about filling the vacuum with another. Psychologists call this syndrome Attachment Disorder (or AD).

In my consulting work, I interact with certain churches that exhibit the same sets of issues with love and authority as AD children. I call them Attachment Disorder churches.

Like ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

‘What Should I Do to Become a Pastor?’
‘What Should I Do to Become a Pastor?’
I work for a seminary, but my advice for aspiring ministers doesn’t start there.
From the Magazine
How a Mother’s Love Built a School that Can Transform Hearts and Brains
How a Mother’s Love Built a School that Can Transform Hearts and Brains
Jacob’s Ladder challenges special education norms thanks to Amy O’Dell's relentless belief in her son.
Editor's Pick
What Sanctification Looks Like
What Sanctification Looks Like
The Bible’s diverse narratives help us disciple those entrusted to our care.