Most church leaders are godly and healthy. A toxic church leader, one that is figuratively poisonous to the organization, is rare. But it is that church leader who brings great harm to churches and other Christian organizations. And it is that leader that hurts the entire cause of Christ when word travels about such toxicity.
In my previous post, I noted the traits of long-term, healthy pastors. I now travel to the opposite extreme and provide symptoms of the worst kind of church leaders, toxic church leaders.They rarely demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Paul notes those specific attributes in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. You won't see them much in toxic leaders. They seek a minimalist structure of accountability. Indeed, if they could get away with it, they would operate in a totally autocratic fashion, with heavy, top down leadership. They expect behavior of others they don't expect of themselves. "Do as I say, not as I do." They see almost everyone else as inferior to themselves. You will hear them criticizing other leaders while building themselves up. They show favoritism. It is clear that they have a favored few while they marginalize the rest. They have frequent anger outbursts. This behavior takes place when they don't get their way. They say one thing to some people, but different things to others. This is a soft way of saying they lie. They seek to dismiss or marginalize people before they attempt to develop them. People are means to their ends; they see them as projects, not God's people who need mentoring and developing. They are manipulative. Their most common tactic is using partial truths to get their way. They lack transparency. Autocratic leaders are rarely transparent. If they get caught abusing their power, they may have to forfeit it. They do not allow for pushback or disagreement. When someone does disagree, he or she becomes the victim of the leader's anger and marginalization. They surround themselves with sycophants. Their inner circle thus often includes close friends and family members, as well as a host of "yes people." They communicate poorly. In essence, any clarity of communication would reveal their autocratic behavior, so they keep their communications unintelligible and obtuse. They are self-absorbed. In fact, they would unlikely see themselves in any of these symptoms.
Yes, toxic leaders are the distinct minority of Christian leaders. But they can do harm to the cause of Christ disproportionate to their numbers. And they can get away with their behavior for years because they often have a charismatic and charming personality. Charming like a snake. more >>
NEW YORK — Chad Veach, formerly on staff at Judah Smith's The City Church in Seattle, Washington, has a suggestion or two for ministry leaders who might be more committed to their methods than they are to exploring new ways of sharing the Gospel's relevancy with today's youth.
Veach, who announced earlier this month that he and wife Julia would be moving back to Los Angeles to plant ZOE (pronounced zo-aye) Church, has a heart for youth ministry and has even been called an "expert" in that particular area of outreach due to a vibrant youth and young adult ministry he oversaw at a previous church. Veach is also a regular speaker at churches and conferences across the nation, which positions him as particularly knowledgeable about how Christians do church in various contexts.
When asked in a recent "CP Newsroom" discussion on what trends he has noticed in Christianity during his travels in the U.S. that he finds encouraging, Veach celebrated how "church has gotten better" and how God seems to be at work everywhere. more >>
This year's Catalyst Atlanta, with more than 9,000 Christian leaders expected to attend the three-day event beginning Wednesday, is spearheaded for the first time in several years by a new executive director.
Tyler Reagin, who was a pastor at a campus of North Point Community Church took the place of Brad Lomenick a year ago, after first being the organization's creative director. Lomenick remains as a consultant and adviser to the highly popular 14 year old movement and organization.
During a recent interview with The Christian Post, Reagin said that after Catalyst took a year to "brand audit" the organization, there should be some noticeable changes to those attending this week. Mainly, the extended time given for the opportunity to interact with other leaders about what they just heard after many of the sessions and deciding on action steps to be taken home to implement. more >>
Chuck Smith, Jr., has responded in strong opposition to a lawsuit shortly after it was filed by his sister and apparently supported by his brother on Friday, that alleges elder abuse against the late Pastor Chuck Smith and wrongful takeover of his property by the church board at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, and includes current pastor Brian Brodersen.
"For the record, I want it to be known that I do not support the lawsuit my sister Janette and brother Jeff have filed against Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa," Smith wrote in a letter that was distributed at the church on Sunday.
"In my opinion it is groundless, deplorable, dishonoring to our father (and to his work, not to mention the people to whom he dedicated his life). It is another sad stain on the representation of Christianity. The only motivation I can see for the suit is malice and greed. Any pretense to honor my father's name or provide adequate care and support for my mother is nonsense." more >>
NEW YORK — The issue of domestic violence took center stage earlier this month when video emerged of NFL player Ray Rice punching wife Janay Rice inside of an Atlantic City elevator. The ugly event prompted numerous discussions, including introspective ones among Christians about how church leadership handles, or mishandles cases of domestic abuse. According to one survivor, biblical illiteracy among church leaders actually enabled her abuser.
Autumn Miles, founder of The Blush Network and author of the Appointed: Your Future Starts Now, spoke with The Christian Post about her own past as a domestic abuse victim and how growing up as a preacher's kid in a conservative church actually enabled her abuser.
According to a LifeWay Research survey published in June, pastors seldom preach about domestic violence, although a majority of these leaders consider domestic violence to be a pro-life issue. more >>
WASHINGTON — Conservatives can still win the marriage debate, traditional marriage advocates argued at the Values Voter Summit.
Titled "The Future of Marriage: To The Supreme Court and Beyond," the panel was held Saturday afternoon at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage.
Brian Brown, president of NOM, said he believed the media was trying to portray the issue as one that conservatives were avoiding. more >>