Listening to Your Sheep:

The Fine Art of Pastoral Diagnosis

by Wayne Perry



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 16/02/2006

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 116
ISBN : 9781425915810

About the Book

“Did you see the way that guy acted at that meeting?  I can’t believe someone would act that way in church!”  If you have ever heard, or perhaps thought or said, something like this, Listening To Your Sheep is for you.  Based on more than ten years of research, Listening To Your Sheep uses  the common Biblical image of the people of God as “sheep” to describe the major types of people who are bound to be in every congregation.  Not only does Dr. Wayne Perry describe the “sheep” and how they are likely to respond in common situations in a congregation, he also gives concrete advice the leaders of the congregation can use to work more effectively with these sheep.


The book begins with some necessary background on listening skills and on the rules by which all human systems, from families to congregations to multinational organizations, operate. With this foundation in place, each succeeding chapters describes a particular kind of “sheep” which will be found in every religious body.  Listening is indeed key to “diagnosing” each type of sheep.  As the author points out, to “diagnose” actually means to “listen thoroughly.”  Dr. Perry shows how to listen to the words and the actions of the people in the congregation to understand what type of “sheep” you are working with.   Each chapter also shows what happens when this type of “sheep” become a shepherd, that is, when the sheep becomes a leader of the body.  The results are often fascinating.  All the more so because the practical suggestions Dr. Perry provides are based on research into and observations of many different religious groups.  You are sure to “hear” someone you know in this book.

About the Author

Wayne Perry is an ordained minister with more than 33 years’ experience as a pastor.  In addition to his service in civilian churches, he served as a chaplain in the United States Air Force, eventually retiring in the rank of lieutenant colonel.  This mix of civilian and military ministry experience gave him a unique breadth of exposure to church groups literally around the world.


Wayne earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Campbell University, a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree at Emory University.  While in Washington, D.C., he spent a year of internship at St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital.  He completed other internships in both mental health and physical health hospitals.


Wayne is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and an Approved Supervisor in that same organization.  He is also a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, as well as a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteer.  He is widely published, both in professional books and journals, and in more popular literature.  For about 5 years he wrote a weekly article for a local newspaper.  His previous book, Basic Counseling Techniques:  A Beginning Therapist’s Toolkit, is in use as a text at several universities.  He maintains a busy marriage and family therapy practice in a pastoral counseling center in his home town.  Along with other clients, he works with many clergy and their families.


Wayne and his wife Donna have three grown children.  Their primary joy comes from being with their children and grandchildren, as well as with their “fur kids” – their cats and dog.  Though Wayne no longer preaches every Sunday, they are active in their local congregation, singing in the choir and teaching adult education classes.