Increasing number of believers in Christ are leaving churches because they believe they are being ruled with a heavy hand. When these individuals share their testimonies, there are compelling similarities. Here are eight common warning signs that your pastor may be ruling based on Spiritual Abuse rather than a godly example. Knowing what to look for may help you in case you have questions about the church you attend. Even if you see only one of these eight signals taking place in your local congregation, it is one too many. No one advises a wife to stay with an abusive husband, and it's time Christians realize they can leave toxic churches.

Be wary of pastors who dictate rather than delegate

The first sign you may be in a spiritually abusive church is that you are asking the question. This indicates that you have already, seen, heard and or experienced something that has caused you to seek answers. Now that you are paying attention you need to watch for the second, third, and fourth signs are taking place in front of you. If your pastor dictates, rather than delegate, and he seems to make clones of himself then Houston you have a problem.

If your Spiritual Leader says, he is God's authority and should be obeyed and not questioned he is a dictator. If everyone simply does his bidding and no one else ever has a say so this is wrong.

If you notice that the people in high-level positions in the church all sound like they have been cloned, this is evidence of cult-like behavior. When church leaders repeat the same wording and phrases of their pastor, and you cannot reason with them, this is a sign of abuse.

These leaders have been chastised, corrected and whipped into shape as if they were in the military.

They have lost their own will because they believe pleasing God means obeying the pastor. When it becomes all about the man or woman representing God and not Christ Himself it's time for you to leave because you have a dictator ruling you.

Continue to be curious and inquisitive about spiritual abuse

The fifth indicator that an abusive preacher is ruling you may be his or her ignorance because of age and or lack of longevity in ministry.

These preachers are spiritually immature and do not listen to older seasoned pastors. They are looking at a goal of gaining people to sit in the seat and increasing the offering. They do not have the roots to be a shepherd, and it shows.These immature ministers simply use the scriptures and catch phrases they believe work for megachurch leaders hoping the same for themselves.

Number six encompasses all of the above because it indicates these spiritual leaders are arrogant when Christ says to be humble servants. They have an attitude of always being right, and everyone who does not agree with them is wrong. Number seven and eight sums up the entirety of spiritual abuse. If you are not free to speak to your pastor or even other top church leaders you are no different than a wife trying not to trigger an abusive husband.

When you feel uncomfortable around your shepherd and those who work closely with him, please consider all you have read and make an informed decision regarding whether or not you should stay in such a toxic environment. I mean no disrespect to sexual abuse victims but when church folk come out from under these abusive leaders and share their stories, then many more will have the courage to say "Me too."