Karen A. McClintock, M.Div., Ph.D. consults with Clergy Members and is a Congregational Consultant. She is a former pastor, former faculty member in the Psychology Department at Southern Oregon University, and author of six books on clergy and congregational care.
Clergy work long hours, receive low pay, and have demanding work hours while frequently hearing petty criticism and enduring unfair evaluations. These factors all contribute to demoralization and burn out. While clergy are “called” to ministry and educated at seminary, they are often ill prepared for the complex interpersonal relationships that include them every day.
After twenty years in parish ministry, and a particularly conflicted conversation with a church bully, God called me to begin a Ph.D. program in psychology. I bring my experience as a professor and former private practice psychologist into my phone calls, in person meetings, or on-line connections with clergy. I come alongside clergy who are after-pastors following clergy or laity abuse in their congregations. I support them as they care for trauma victims after natural disasters. I help them to effectively resolve problems related to the hiring and firing of staff, conflicted conversations about sexuality issues, and offer ways to address dysfunctional organizational systems. Our conversations increase confidence and competence. I assist clergy in discernment when a time of change is needed in their congregation or in their personal lives.
These conversations are confidential and are only released at the request of the clergyperson. A signed confidentiality policy agreement ensures that the information shared is safely kept, stored appropriately, and disclosed only if harm or likelihood of harm has been revealed. My negotiated fee for these services is less than traditional therapy fees and often drawn from a clergyperson’s continuing education funds or funded by judicatory sources. Most clergy consultations last between six weeks and six months. Some are one-time appointments.
“Karen is a resource, a support, a guide and a teacher. In my work as an interim pastor in a congregation following allegations of clergy sexual misconduct, I looked forward to my appointments with Karen because together we could process what was happening in the ministry in real time and together consider ways to move forward to lead/accompany the congregation on a path of healing and hope. I highly recommend Karen’s consulting work, as well as her books and resources.”
I was fortunate to develop many skills in congregational consulting as a workshop leader with Alban Institute and by working with a business consultant for over a year in a congregation that started off on the wrong foot.
When congregational consultant Rev. Dr. Kibbie Ruth and I came together to write our book, Healthy Disclosure, I began combining my family systems training in psychology with my training workshops for congregations. I have come alongside diverse congregations across the country including Ferguson, Missouri; Tucson, Arizona; and Grants Pass, Oregon to name only a few. I have worked with Jewish congregations as well as Episcopalians, United Methodists, United Church of Christ, Presbyterians, and Disciples.
During transitions or challenging circumstances in a congregation, a consultant provides an objective view and addresses often buried feelings of shame, anger, and loss. Working together, congregations effectively resolve problems related to the hiring and firing of staff, sexual orientation issues, sexual abuse, an imbalance of power, clergy and laity harassment, and frequent pastoral changes. I offer assessment through small group conversations and training for boards, staff, lay leaders, and interim ministers in ways that create vibrant growing congregations. I am available for congregational consultations on site or by phone at a reasonable hourly rate or by contract for extended periods of up to six months.
After a free initial phone appointment, a consultation will be designed to meet your congregation’s specific needs and further your goals.
“I would be happy to recommend Karen’s services to any church. I think she did wonders for ours. After her work alongside us, the congeniality and cohesiveness of our congregation grew exponentially. We no longer experience the conflict that plagued us in the past.”