Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

When God's People Let You Down: How to Rise Above Hurts That Often Occur Within the Church Paperback – May, 1995

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$20.61 $0.01

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

As author Jeff VanVonderen was growing up in a small farming community in northeastern Wisconsin, he learned well the lessons of how to "make it" in his family, in his community, and in his church.

He became president of his church youth group. He ministered in a nearby nursing home. He memorized Scripture. He had perfect attendance in Sunday School. He worked hard at being "the best, most positive person I could be."

But no matter how much he achieved, inwardly he couldn't shake the sense that God was disappointed in him. By his early 20's, his misdirected desire to please people led him to a full-blown addiction to drugs and alcohol, which resulted in physical, social, and spiritual burnout.

But after facing his deep-down sense of defectiveness, which he now identifies as a sense of shame, he came to realize that there is a significant difference between shame and guilt.

Defining shame as "the belief or mindset that something is wrong with you," VanVonderen has written Tired of Trying to Measure Up out of the depth of his own experience in breaking free from the demands, expectations, and intimidations of well-meaning people. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, co-authored with David Johnson, is written to show how to recognize and escape spiritual manipulation and false spiritual authority within the church. Jeff has also written Good News for the Chemically Dependant (and Those Who Love Them). His book, Families Where Grace Is in Place, shows how to build a graceful marriage and family without legalism or manipulation.

Jeff VanVonderen, who is pastor of counseling at Church of the Open Door in a northwestern suburb of Minneapolis, has earned the M.Div. degree from Bethel Theological Seminary, and is a licensed chemical dependency counselor. He has served on the staffs of several churches and was founder and director of Passages Counseling Center.

Jeff, his wife Holly, and their four daughters make their home in Minnesota.

size : 5.3 x 8.2

Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Pub (May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556613482
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556613487
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #756,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 9 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just recently read this book. It is a definite re-read for me.
I've had some negative experiences and sharp disappointments when dealing with some Christians or "churchfolk". I've seen actions that didn't meet the most basic laws of common courtesy and respect, let alone the higher standards that the Bible lays out for us to follow with each other. I've seen a lot of hypocrisy, dysfunction and unhealthy dynamics in the "church". All this left me with a very sour view on church and on other Christians. I had a mistrust for leadership and just wondered if folks were really trying to follow the Bible or was it all just a big show.
This book has helped me to reconcile a lot of those issues. Here were the major points for me:
- It is okay to expect the body of Christ to act like the body of Christ is supposed to act. It is okay to expect a higher standard of morality in the church than what is seen in the world. If the Bible says, don't lie, then it's okay to expect Christians to be honest. I had begun to wonder what, if anything, I could expect from other Christians.
-This book gives examples of unhealthy dynamics in relationships and families. This helped me realize fully what I'd had a sneaking suspicion of: some of the groups that I was in were dysfunctional. I was bound to get hurt in those situations.
-In addition to discussing the hurts that one can experience at the hands of leadership or other Christians, the book very gently probes into what your role was in the situation and what your responsibility is in terms of being healed from it. However, it does NOT get into any blaming the victim. This section helped me to see that while, yes, I had been hurt by some leaders and groups, it was I who put these leaders on such a high pedestal in the first place.
Read more ›
Comment 19 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Jeff Vanvonderan does it again. His wisdom, written with a "probe like" dialogue into your heart, helps the reader better understand his or her hurt, and therefore overcome it. Even for readers who have not found themselves hurt by ignorant, but certainly well meaning, people, this book is strongly recommended. It will prepare you with the tools to handle the hurts that come your way. (This book actually lifted me out of a critical, very clinically advanced depression.)
Comment 21 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
To be honest, the book has all the answers to all my questions on God, myself and church folks esp. the bad leaders out there. It strikes my heart deeply and frees me out into the air again. We have gone through depression from slight (myself) to serious (my wife) during these bad times.
The book leads me out of the clouds of how I shall see my church pastor, leaders, staff, brothers and sisters and also myself in correct ways. Even though we feel getting hurt a lot, it tells me that we DID have responsibilities on Not wearing the suitable armours around ourselves.
Lastly, it tells me how to recover step by step, which is very important to me when I step into another church. I cried and was touched by the bible quotes in the book many times. God uses the book to heal me and I feel the love from God through the book.
Comment 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I have to praise the author for his wonderful and ground

breaking books. This particular book is not one of my

favorites, but it is worth reading. I personally think it

would be more helpful to include the possibility for some

Christians to simply stop attending an institutional church

at all for a season. The idea that we "have" to be "in

fellowship" and it "has" to mean an institutional church

can be very restrictive. Some wounded Christians are

helped by finding a different church, but some heal better

by staying out of institutional settings for a season, or

for good. There is also a home church movement which helps

some people. The point is to be led by the Holy Spirit

in your choice. For some people, withdrawing from Christian

fellowship for a time until healing can occur and until

a healthier model can be formed, is the best solution. Far

too many wounded Christians hop from one abusive church into

another one. For this reason, I do not agree with the

advice that healing needs to be accomplished by trusting a

church or pastor again...just my opinion.

I do recommend reading all the books by this author.
4 Comments 15 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great read for Christians struggling with the outward performance thing, but are dying on the inside. I can see in my own life and home how I was impacted with performance-based Christianity and passed it onto my own children. I pray that God will bringing healing to my family and the different churches that teach performance based Christianity. I hope and pray that someday we can be truly real with one another. That church will be a place we can be totally honest with one another. One part of the book really spoke to me and that was the "triangling". Always wanting to appear nice and never wanting to risk upsetting someone, so we go to a third person and share with them what we see wrong in someone else, wanting them to 'fix' that person. This is not biblical. I've been guilty of this too and I have had the sting of that done to me. Very painful...God forgive me for doing that to others. I always hated confrontation, not wanting to hurt anyone. I'm getting that this is self-idolatry. It's that outward dynamic thing going on in the church. Understanding God's unconditional love for us will free us from this performance-based, white-knuckled approach to Christianity.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: rise above, let down by god