What Happens When Narcissism Creeps In

What Happens When Narcissism Creeps In?

Thomas CostelloChurch Leadership 2 Comments

When you think of a church leader, you usually think of a selfless individual who wants to serve God and help others explore their faith.

But, what happens when narcissism creeps in? As a leader, even in a church, it’s easy to let that power go to your head. This leads to narcissistic tendencies.

While no one’s immune to the occasional narcissistic moment, it can negatively affect the church when leaders let narcissism take over.

Leadership Turns To Dictatorship

It may be such as a gradual transition that no one notices until it’s too late. You feel like you’re the only one who can get anything done right or the only person who is truly passionate about the church. Instead of being a leader, you become a dictator. Think of it as becoming a massive control freak.

It’s important to remind yourself that God is always the main leader. This often helps quell those narcissistic thoughts and get you back on the right path. Plus, if your members tell you something’s not right, listen to them.

Limits Church Growth

It’s impossible to grow a church when narcissism creeps in. A narcissistic leader tends to make members feel like they’re not important. Members never get the chance to lead. Their input isn’t valued. After a while, members actually give up and move on.

Your members are important and it’s vital to always remember that. It’s up to church leaders to listen to and engage with members to help improve and grow the church.

Easy To Lose Sight Of What’s Important

When it’s all about you, it’s far too easy to lose sight of what’s most important – God and guiding your members. Instead of seeing the big picture, you only see how to better yourself or how to ensure you stand in the spotlight. It’s a downward spiral if you let narcissism take over. Luckily, if you realize it in the beginning, it’s easy to change your mindset and focus on the things that truly are important.

Divides Are Created

A church is supposed to function like a solid community. Of course, you’ll have the occasional disagreements, but those pass. When narcissism creeps in, you’ll start to notice divides within your church. For instance, the members who think most like you tend to be the happiest. Those who recognize the problem and try to speak up,¬†feel isolated. Instead of bringing members together, they’re torn apart.

Plus, members often look up to church leaders. If you’re showing narcissistic tendencies, it may cause them to do the same. This just creates even more divides.

No Room For New Ideas

It takes new ideas for a church to grow. For instance, if you believe only your way works, what happens when membership starts to dwindle? Narcissism makes you deaf to new ideas. It’s hard to see past your own past victories to think about what’s best for the church and its members.

If you notice yourself ignoring all ideas, except for your own, it could be a sign that narcissism is starting to creep in. It’s time to step back and really listen to your members and other leaders. They’re part of your church family and they’re there to help you through this.

Creates A Negative Atmosphere

Overall, narcissism creates a negative atmosphere. Instead of a welcoming, warm community, members aren’t sure where they stand or if they’re even considered a priority any more. New visitors pick up on the negativity and divides, which encourages them to find a different church or to avoid church completely.

Another issue is narcissism often comes with feelings of self-loathing. You realize what’s going on, but somehow it’s hard to stop. You can’t stand how you’re hurting yourself and your church family. Members pick up on your attitude. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re having issues with narcissism. In fact, use it to teach the entire church that pride and arrogance never end well, but that everyone is susceptible.

The moment you notice any narcissistic thoughts, counter them with thoughts about your members and your faith. Talk to fellow leaders. Most importantly, remember that you don’t have to think this way or let it affect the church.

Want a great way to talk about personal issues like this with your entire church family? Consider blogging on a church website. After all, conquering your struggles helps others to conquer theirs.

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