Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Your Pastor Might be a Narcissist if...

The Power 2 Serve website has a great article on Narcissistic Personality Disorder called Narcissism In The Pulpit. The details of the article may remind you of the pastor of a controlling church you have attended.


Your pastor might be a narcissist if...

He keeps reminding you from the pulpit what a good teacher/leader he is....but nobody has heard of him.

When faced with a personal problem that you need his council on, he snaps "What do you want me to do about it!?"

He removes associate ministers from the church that become popular with the church family.

He does not conduct funerals unless he absolutely cannot get out of it.

He thinks people will lose their blessing if they don't get a chance to donate to his ministry.

He only accepts correction from ministers of equal anointing or higher, so don't even think about it.

He doesn't visit people in the hospital unless he absolutely can't get out of it or God tells him to go, which is not often.

He tells stories from the pulpit of people who were healed through his prayers and none of them go to his church.

He removes associate ministers who can preach as well as he does.

He is rarely seen in the company of low-income congregants.

He believes you should compete against each other to 'get around his anointing.'

He feels his adult children are owed big church salaries despite their lack of experience at, well.....everything

He returns from headquarters and hints how he corrected their doctrine, taught the leaders back their own sermons to them and was generally Joe Cool when he was there.

He becomes VERY upset if you don't call him by his title.

He tells you that as your pastor he is your 'anointing connection.'

He thinks sneering at pastors of smaller churches is acceptable.

He hints that higher profile ministers come to him for advice.

He tells you outright that all his peers come to him for advice.

He maintains he is the one that God sent to preach his favorite doctrines to the area: he's God's man for your town. Someone preaching a similar message in the area is not God's man for the area.

He competes with other ministers to be top dog in the eyes of those he admires and imitates.

He believes the type of ministry he does (teacher, prophet, etc.) is the most important.

You may NOT ask how money is spent in the church.
He regularly suggests there are other preachers/congregants trying to undermine him.

Congregants are charged for copies of his Sunday sermons.

He cannot take a joke. And if you try to tease him, he MUST retaliate.

He feels that the church is riding the coattails of his faith.

Match each of the above examples with the characteristics taken from Narcissism In The Pulpit below. There are no wrong answers.

You are welcome to post comments of other examples of "Your pastor might be a narcissist if..."

1. Feels grandiose and self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements & talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion.

3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique &, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions).

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention & affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

5. Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special & favorable priority treatment. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations.

6. Is "interpersonally exploitative", I.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends.

7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others.

8. Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her.

9. Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted.”


  1. Also the expense gift he expects the congregation to buy him on Christmas, father’s day, his birthday, and anniversary, or just because your special gift.

  2. Blows off people who are enthusiastic about how God is working in their lives when it's more important to enjoy the "church picnic."

  3. Tells you that God speaks thru him and God has given him a plan for your life and then changes it and says he changed his mind. If you leave his church, you are told you are out of God's will and in rebellion. Encourages people to only be friends with people who are loyal to him. He discourages visiting other churches because you'll get "spiritual agidda"

  4. You quickly find your church divided into the pro-pastor and anti-pastor crowd. If you think he is a "great man" and are in the "pro" crowd, you begin to hear all sorts of nasty stuff from the pastor about the "antis", many of whom you had been perfectly at peace with before the pastor arrived.

  5. I was married to one. He took an interest in one of his parishoners. Started running around with her. Was caught with her removed from the ministry. Went into another denomination posing as a pastor. Got caught there they left their denomination for him. He married his former parishoner in a big church ceremony performed by his narsisstic father who is also a pastor. This church thinks he walks on water. He left behind two ruined families. And a former once thriving church that has been close to closing many times. He is truely a wolf in sheeps clothing. He does not have any deep feeling or emphathy for anyone. He is a good actor. He often makes inappropriate sexual comments and cutting remarks. It is so sad that he is back in a pulpit again. When he does this again and he will what will that church do then? Men like this have no business in a pulpit. They destroy lives and churches. The church should be a safe place where leaders are healthy.

  6. If his name is Afshin

  7. I LOVE this one: He feels his adult children are owed big church salaries despite their lack of experience at, well.....everything

    But you're right. I thought that can't happen to me, or people who go in such a church are mental. I was in a military church in Mannheim/Germany for a long time, and as they asked me to leave, I lost all my 'friends'. My pastor is obsessed with the 2nd world war, until we found out he is born 1940 and never seen action. Basically a liar.

  8. Great Blog Post and so truthful . To God Be The Glory! Truth makes the church people free

  9. Check this article on Narcissist in the Ministry:


  10. http://clarityrediscovered.blogspot.com/
    Have you read this? It's very good.

  11. Anybody know what to do when this "model" of pastor is currently serving your church? How do you get rid of someone who manipulates at every angle? It's disgusting!! Ok, I'll check out the articles posted above now. Maybe the answer is within. Thanks!

  12. Sorry I took so long to respond.
    If you you have a narcissistic manipulator as a pastor, the easy and simple thing to do is...run! And if your church has an organizational structure that prevents the pastor from holding all the power, you have a chance. But these type of people are scheming continually on how they can outwit and control congregants like yourself, so it would be an uphill battle at best. Yes, read the articles and compare note with others at your church. Narcissism and manipulation are ungodly and need to be exposed. Godspeed my friend!

  13. I went to a church like this for many years. It was always controlling in some ways but the last 6 yrs were horrible. The pastor divided families and convinced them that it was best for them because it gave the family time to grow closer to God but the real motive was to seperate them to be more committed to him and not each other. Children were sent to live in other people's home so the parents couldn't corrupt them (Have any say in their lives)I know this 1st hand because I had somebody else's child (young adult-they had barely turned 18) living in my home for 10 yrs. I have since left and that person is now married and still is not allowed to speak to her parents unless given permission by the pastor. (They all go to the same church and do not even speak)You are told that he is the final say in every decision in your life. He told me personally that he could take my children from me and they were only 13 and 15 if I didn't change the way I was living(he had corrected me and told me I was too protective over my children and I didn't agree with him).I had told him I didn't want to go to that church anymore and that is when he threatened me.You had to agree with everything he said or you would get corrected. He says he hears from God for you and it got to the point that you couldn't even go to the movies or dinner without permission. This whole article describes our old pastor to a tee. I could go on forever but I wont :-)I could literally write a book because of what we experienced here.If anybody is reading this that is in a controlling situation, please get out as soon as you can!!! No matter what threats come your way about being cursed or dieing if you leave, just remember that we serve a loving and compassionate God and He gives us a free will to make decisions for our lives. He doesn't threaten us to make us do what He wants us to do. He gives us wisdom to make decisions for ourselves.Our family loves the Lord and we are still serving Him but now we do it by choice and not because we have to. We feel free for the 1st time in years and our lives are improving everyday. Please pray and get yourselves out of those hyper-authoritarian churches. He didn't call one man to dictate your life.God set you free- He didn't put you in bondage :-)