Jump directly to the Content

North American Guide to Church Dragons

How to identify and approach two dangerous species.

Two categories of people can make life particularly hard for a pastor: the passive-aggressive person and the projector. I call them "dragons," a metaphor Leadership senior editor Marshall Shelley coined in his book Well-Intentioned Dragons.

Here's how to recognize when such dragons sneak up on your back side and how to deflect their assaults—crucial survival skills in pastoral work.

1. Frustratorius Slipperious

The passive-aggressive congregant is more likely to smile than to snarl. This person appears friendly and supportive.

Only after you've entrusted this dragon with an important task will you begin to be confused. You thought you heard, "Oh, yes, I'd love to do that," but the job went unfinished. Worse, you seem powerless to discover what actually happened. Attempts to confront the issue are likely to end with you looking like an insensitive dictator (rather than the compassionate, understanding person you really are).

Individuals whose primary relational style is passive-aggressive ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Leader's Insight: Where Is God?
Leader's Insight: Where Is God?
Tragedy forces us to ask the questions that really matter.
From the Magazine
I Plant Secret House Churches Because I Was Saved into One
I Plant Secret House Churches Because I Was Saved into One
How an Iranian teenager found Christ and launched a mission to equip persecuted believers.
Editor's Pick
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Matthew D. Kim believes addressing pain is part of a preacher’s calling.