Discussion questions for Like a Fig Tree
available at /like-a-fig-tree.html

Betrayed, the Clergy Killer’s DNA;When the Church Forsakes its Own Clergy.
A 90 minute movie on DVD, available at US Films.  Rev. Dr. G. Lloyd Rediger, D. Rel., Presbyterian Minister, pastoral counselor, author of  Clergy Killers. Dr. James Forbes, Sr. Minister Emeritus, Riverside Church,New York, is on the board which created this
    The pastor of a congregation is vulnerable to gossip, rumors, lies, and power seeking individuals.  If a member wants to get rid of a pastor, for whatever reason, it is difficult to stop him or her. When conflict grows out of control in a congregation, often behind the scenes, the solution is typically for the pastor to leave and another to come in, hoping and praying that the problem was in the pastor or the result of “a poor fit.”  It is easier to throw the pastor under the bus than it is to change a congregation (or make them angry, or lose their contributions to the larger church.) 
    The pastor who leaves may be emotionally, physically, spiritually and vocationally scarred. There is usually minimal advocacy and help available in the system of the church.  
    What is the answer to this injustice?  Hire a lawyer?  Join a union?  Governing bodies becoming more aware and gaining skills to deal with clergy killer congregations?
    The film details examples of clergy killer individuals and congregations. It also explores questions of motivation, sin, evil and paths to justice.  The film is long, 90 minutes, and is mostly “talking heads.”  Statistics noted are informative and surprising.
    Pastors under fire will gain comfort, support and knowledge from this movie. They are not alone.
    A congregation in the midst of this kind of struggle may benefit from seeing the problem from a Family Systems viewpoint, and the film may tune their eyes to be able to see insidious evil.
    A denomination’s committee charged with conflict management and care of clergy will encounter a call to action.
Personal note:  
    I’m glad to see this subject become a topic of the day. My first novel Like Sheep tells the story of Pastor Suzanne entering a congregation plagued by a member who threatens to destroy it.     
    My second book—out soon—is Like a Fox. Pastor Suzanne is cautioned against going to Covenant Church because they are a “clergy killers.” Three former pastors have left the ministry. She enters with caution, seeking to find the source of their problems, restore them and survive.                    
February 1, 2013

Dear Friend in Christ,

My name is Mitch Todd.  I'm a United Methodist pastor in Lawrence, Kansas. 

As we begin a new semester in our churches, I know this is the time of year when many of us are looking for new small groups and book studies, so I wanted to suggest a possibility for you to consider.

My mother, Judy Mitchell Rich (a Presbyterian pastor) has written and published a book called Like Sheep, and I wanted to let you know about it. 

Like Sheep is the story of a young female pastor called to serve a rural Kansas church in 1985.  What she discovers is a mystery -- someone is harassing the members of the church, bringing it to the brink of closing. 

The book is a "who-dunnit" set in the context of the Church.  I'm obviously biased, but I wanted you to know about the book, because I think it's great.  The book covers such questions as “What makes a group of people a church?”  “How can people name evil and respond to it without starting a witch hunt?” and “What ways might unresolved grief affect a person?” 

This book is entertaining and fast-paced, and would make for great conversations as a book study.

I have written an 11-part discussion guide that will lead groups through the book at whatever pace you choose.

order book at:

If you're looking for something engaging and a little different, this may be right up your alley.


Rev. Mitch Todd

The Rev. Mitch Todd of First United Methodist Church, Lawrence, Kansas
has prepared a Like Sheep discussion guide for church groups. It is easily adaptable for book groups of all kinds.  See LIKE SHEEP EXTRAS.
TWO REVIEWS  Interesting contrast.
One a verbal from a sister in the faith who was disappointed in some of the language in the book. 
I wasn't sure how my more conservative friends would view it and I respect their desire not to have language they disapprove of. I wondered how a woman pastor would go over, but haven't heard anything about that.
Here is another from someone not into religion - and someone I don't know:

from Amazon
4.0 out of 5 stars Different from my usual fare,  October 8, 2012 By  Que Barbara "barbvee" - This review is from: Like Sheep (Kindle Edition)I'm not one to read books about religion but am someone up for a good mystery. It shouldn't be a surprise that this book is heavy on religious content since the main character is a pastor. All of the quoting of scriptures, questions of faith etc are woven into the story in such a way that it is all very interesting and not off-putting for someone who doesn't want to come near anything hinting of religion (at least in my opinion).

The characters are well drawn, the descriptions of Kansas are vivid, the mystery is a good one and I didn't catch on to who-dun-it until near the end.

This is a story of faith, blooming where you are planted and perseverance. It's also a really good mystery too!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.



    Like Sheep

    Like a Fox

    Like a Fig Tree

    Author Information

    The Rev. Dr. Judy Mitchell Rich lives outside of Athens, Alabama, in the country where she enjoys the stream behind her house and the wooded area which houses wild turkeys, deer, and many birds.
    She is a graduate of Fairborn High School in Ohio; Muskingum College;  McCormick Seminary. If you're into letters after names, hers would be
    : B.A., M.A., M.Div. and D.Min.

    She is an ordained Presbyterian USA pastor and has served as an Associate Pastor, Interim Pastor and Solo Pastor
    for  churches in Michigan, Kansas and Ohio, and on the staff of the Presbytery of Northern Kansas.
    University Presbyterian, Rochester Hills,Michigan
    Kipp Presbyterian, Kipp, Kansas
    Gypsum United Methodist, Gypsum,Kansas
    Presbytery of Northern Kansas
    Westminster Presbyterian, Emporia, Kansas
    St. Andrews Presbyterian, Topeka, Kansas
    Westminster Presbyterian, Piqua, Ohio
    Honorably Retired 2008

    Favorite activities include writing, reading mysteries, Pilates classes,   playing with clay and laughing with her friends and two sons, four sisters, one brother and their families.

    She published Like Sheep in September of 2012 and the second in the series Like A Fox in March of 2014. Like a Fig Tree was published September, 2015.

    Easter, 2006. Westminster Presbyterian Church. Piqua, Ohio. Photo by Sue Dougherty.


    Book Study With Guide
    Christian Fiction
    Church Conflict
    Clergy Couples
    Clergy Killer Churches
    Clergy Unions
    Evil In Churches
    Religious Fiction