How to spot a manipulative church leader

We all know at least one.

Most of us have worked for one.

The manipulative church leader.

Donald Miller has a great piece on how to spot these manipulative guys (and gals).

You need to read his narrative, here…

According to Miller, a Christian leader who is manipulative will:

  • Never be truly vulnerable. They will never tell stories about their weaknesses. If they do, those stories will be about how they are too strong, too devout and too many other things that are more or less humble brags.
  • Always have the true answer, and truth is truth because they said it. The truth is the Bible is complex, but a manipulator knows they can’t get you to submit if they don’t have ALL the answers. Certainly trained pastors have answers, but nobody has all the answers. Manipulators do. They want to tell you how to live.
  • They make you jump through hoops. If you want to get married, you must go through hours of classes so they can approve. If you want to be a member, you must sign a contract or a statement of theological belief. Now many wonderful churches do this sort of thing, but when there is a manipulative leader, you’ll normally find an endless number of hurdles to jump over. They want to test you, over and over, to make sure you’re being submissive.
  • They will never let you off the hook. A manipulative leader can never, ever let you be fully free in Christ. There must always be something wrong with you or else you will no longer need them and will no longer have to submit.

What would you add to this list?

LEAVE A COMMENT:  What is the most outlandish example of a manipulative church leader that you’ve ever encountered?



  1. Chuck
    • Chap
  2. Frustrated

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