Jump directly to the Content

Working with a Narcissistic Leader

The delicate dance of effectiveness amid ego.

The senior pastor I worked under at a California megachurch had a compelling vision to see seekers saved, was quietly charismatic, and had scores of loyal followers. We began to have concerns about him, though, when he insisted on re-videotaping Nicky Gumbel's Alpha Course sessions with himself as speaker. This, he rationalized, was necessary to "preserve (his own) evangelistic anointing and replace Gumbel's hard-to-listen-to English accent with something more comfortable for Americans." None of us was brave enough to mention that the Alpha Course on video had already led tens of thousands to Christ globally. We all kept quiet and completed the project.

In a board meeting some time later, the pastor described his primary ministry function in weekend services as "walking among the congregation and touching them, conferring a blessing that radically changes their countenances." Now we knew something was wrong. Over time, incidents like this convinced us that our pastor was blatantly self-referential, ...

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.

May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Be Anxious for Nothing ...
Be Anxious for Nothing ...
It is so easy to say: just trust.Do not be anxious. Doing it is another matter altogether. How do you cultivate trust? How do you release anxiety?
From the Magazine
As for Me and My Household, We’ll Resist Mammon
As for Me and My Household, We’ll Resist Mammon
Money promises autonomous abundance. But we need someplace where we cannot hide.
Editor's Pick
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Interview
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Matthew D. Kim believes addressing pain is part of a preacher’s calling.
close