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Collecting Greece in the 19th Century: text, image, object, knowledge. Also, Churches are not managed as well as professional, secular organizations, in general. When you see the favourtism and perhaps the amateurism—or flagrant conflicts of interest that would never be okay in secular institutions—it is easy to get frustrated and walk out the door. However, for many of us, hope springs eternal.
Part of fitting in is finding where your gifts will be welcomed. If one is not allowed to participate, people will often on. And to be fair some of the MOST toxic are the folks who have been around forever and run new folks off. What would Jesus do? Well of course none of us are Jesus but supposedly wanting to become like him. You explanation of a Toxic person is so repulsive that I am sure it even hurts Jesus. Why so many churches are dying. Christ cannot deny himself. Why I love Him so much.
Same yesterday, today and forever. Thanks for this article. Attraction and promotion of church followers while trying to serve each other sure can be problematic when there are some people in attendance who are feeling unstable and acting out. I like the idea of not giving them influence. I would love feedback on what to do when this blows up. It was a bit of a nightmare and created a lot of turmoil in the young church. So here is my question — what recommendations would you give on a how to communicate to the congregation that them holding on to this couple is continuing to cause turmoil, or is this even the right approach?
How do you know when they are safe to come back? If ever? Direction, experience and feedback from those that have gone through this would be greatly appreciated. And prayer!!! That is a tough call. My experience was in a church with around average Sunday attendence. This kind of behaviour comes from deep woundedness. Fortunately, my pastor did let me get involved — in a small role at first.
When issues came up, he called me on them and I leaned. I now lead a ministry and am much, much healthier than I was when I first joined the parish, because my pastor saw the wounds behind my behaviour and guided me towards seeking the healing I needed. Would love your feedback on my above post of what your experience was with your pastor who brought you into healing. A big reason why you became healthy is because you were receptive, which is awesome. Not everyone is ready to learn and grow unfortunately.
JannaG, you are so right! This is what people forget when defending such a person, The fact that this person goes and tells other members about this, trying to persuade them to be on her side shows her immaturity, divisiveness, and unwillingness to receive correction. If they seem to have a lot of stories about old ministry partners who blew them off, run fast and run far.
Great stuff. Your insight is huge and the first step to getting healthy. Way to go! This can come off very domineering.. On the other hand we need to be careful not to confuse toxicity with boldness. So true. Its really sad when folks like this assume any sort of leadership position. It happens FAR to often. They go on to make everyone around them miserable and 9 times out of 10 people keep quiet.
God and America have truly failed in this regard. Thanks Carey! I have some friends who it seems that every relationship they have turns toxic. And so, it is a bit self-inflicted but they need to learn to set boundaries with people. I would add to your list people that always take and never give. Takers are toxic people. I resemble that remark but attempting to set boundaries generally gets me mocked or set up for more failure.
Carey, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your wisdom and experience to help other pastors and church leaders. Some people are more direct than others.
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It is a matter of instinct usually who you sense is toxic. Some people are overenthusiastic and it is fake, but that seems to be most people in a church. I mean they are told when and how to jump and and give praise, so they must think they are just supposed to love everyone and everything in charge. If you can only handle timid people who wait in the shadows to be summoned, maybe your ego is a little bit toxic. The thing is, when you realize that someone is toxic, how do you extricate yourself from them? They do usually cling and find excuses to involve themselves with you.
Thank you, Carey. This is right on point. Shepherding the flock requires standing guard at the gate. When you sense there is an agenda that is more important than you. When there are reactions to things that are hyperbolic. When you walk away from a conversation feeling condemned… Especially if you revealed something sensitive. When they have unrealistic expectations of their friends. I know some of these people. No wonder. Also, I recognize some of the ways I can tend toward one or two of the characteristics you mentioned.
I see that I often approach people out of desperation or a scarcity mentality rather than trusting and waiting for the right thing to happen, for God to draw us together or apart. Good stuff!! Thank you! Ricardo…stay encouraged, and draw those boundaries friend. See a counsellor! Just working through what a compassionate response looks like within the church or, as you point out in this case, between churches! Stigma produced by mental illness is a huge issue. I think she was saying that you may not be able to tell the difference between what you call a toxic person and a person suffering from mental illness at the start.
There are many non-leaders who have an unhealthy need to be seen or have influence without taking on responsibility nor making otherwise positive contributions. Can you speak on the flip side where well-meaning often healthy people come under the influence and charm of a toxic leader or leadership team? I am referring to spiritually abusive situations that are not overtly obvious as in the case of extreme authoritarian leadership. Are there tell-tale signs that your readers could watch for?
What are some ways as a non-leader or aspiring leader I can test the waters to identify this characteristic early in my affiliation? Much thanks in advance.
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Also thank you for this article. It goes very nicely with a book I read called Toxic People and the Boundaries series of books. I agree. I think the signs are similar, whether the person is a leader or not. Toxic is toxic wherever you find it. This is very simply and brilliantly put. And describes my parent to a T, who happens to be a church musician. I would be curious how you would deal with someone like so who worked for you in a church.
Thank you Kay. I think you just have to have clear boundaries. As Henry Cloud says, you need to protect yourself and your church from toxic people. But what would you say if God expected you to shepherd even such a broken person? I think most commenters are asking you to complete the story with these challenging questions. As a church it may be complicated, even unChristlike sometimes to get rid of people who rub you the wrong way.
We are all a work in progress and we need one another as God through Jesus who is our boss and His Holy Spirit who is our helper, to transform us more and more into a people who reflect Jesus to the world and to His glory. Add prayerful intercession and counselling to the mix of solutions. I like your post. I have met many people who are evil. They come on too strong or are very forward. Some times evil people appear to be nice but later stab you in the back. I get what Anastasia is saying.
I think the article is so very very good and insightful. We also must take care before labelling people that we might otherwise help. That person is not drowning and coming up for air needing a true rescuer but rather is coming from a place of bitterness and hardness of soul and heart instead of a place of insight. That is the person that needs to be treated with the contempt they deserve — not the person desiring healing and help. Otherwise we can throw around the toxic label as an excuse to avoid helping someone — though not saying that any of us can develop toxic tendencies, I know I can x.
Naaz, I know there are people who have done great evil. I know that people from different cultures, families, heritages, etc have different ways of doing things, behaving and expressing themselves. There is often misguided or even toxic behavior in people. Please do not lump such behavior together with the entire person!
For example, if you had extreme circumstances in your life death of loved ones, loss of income, a chronic, disabling health problem, and your cat died …. You dont know WHY people behave the way they do. What you are saying is not true, l know people have different values. I love every race and I am not a narrow minded fool. Naaz, now you are the one who starts using the race card just by referring to race card out of context.
No; that is unnecessary. What sensitive, loving and balanced attitudes from Anastasia B and anonbristol. God bless you. There is nothing toxic about somebody wanting to be loved either, but such a desire can be misjudged and seem threatening to people even leaders who are fear losing control. Such leaders might feel threatened by newcomers who have themselves been leaders. This is quite an educative post. Every Pastor must learn to be cautious and spirit led even in attempting to disciple people.
He is all that! So a toxic person and a submissive one. I would say a disaster. I was advise to get help as this kind of relationship has or been destroying me. I feel pushed to the limit and always on the look out to push him back away. This is a very helpful post Carey, thanks for being prepared to put time into these posts to help us learn. I think he would teach, love, and encourage! I appreciate the sentiment, but he really did treat the toxic Pharisees differently than he treated outsiders. Admittedly, from an outside point of view there is a fine line between a controlling and selfish leader and a cautious one who protects the congregation our Father called him to lead from toxic persons.
Personally, I agree with your points, Carey. All of them are spot on. Spirit-filled people are sometimes quite willing to reveal themselves honestly, and fearless about rejection, because they know that others who are distrustful and protecting personal secrets will often reveal those problems more readily and without being aware of it as they project bad motives onto a friendly and open Christian, rather than risk the possibility that love may actually beget love.
While advice-giving may be a bit forward and presumptuous, expecting everybody to hang back for months is perhaps instead sending the message that you actually want people to remain in hiding, instead of showing up as their true selves. Thanks for this. I do look for people who honour others around them. Toxic people never do. I think honor is a key word. Ministry sometimes involves getting close to people and listening to their stories. The problem is that if the person trying to help is not humble they can cause more harm than good and actually push people away from the church.
Everyone is different. These by no means describe people with bad motives because personalities have absolutely nothing to do with motives. Giving excessive advice from the first meeting is rude, yes, but maybe those people just search for ways to make improvements and make a difference in the world. Toxic people are usually dishonest, hurtful, depressing, and unwilling to take responsibility for their bad behavior.
These sound like the signs of a busy body. A busy body who is good-intentioned, may just need a little direction. When people are enthusiastic about volunteering and have ideas to make things better, I would take that as a positive sign. I like when people give me ideas for improvements as well. This is great stuff and great perspective.
Thanks for posting. Wisdom here. No doubt helpful. Those of us who have been called into a leadership role have a responsibility to make wise dicisions sometimes difficult and not popular with the masses that we are held responsible for. This is great post. Wow … how could anyone think of gods children this way … does not the bible say to love one another and to hate the sin but love the sinner??
Are we not called to be salt and the light of the world? I think this will always be a controversial post, but I stand by it. If not, I strongly recommend it. And I do believe this is a Christian response. Cloud has been toxic to the Church. You may be coming from reading Cloud, but this is not necessarily good, as Cloud wrote that boundaries book that caused people to get rid of toxic people and cause schisms in the church, rather than counseling people to stick it out. The guy in 6 got in trouble after reading Cloud half the time, or else he tried to buck the person who did.
If you step back a minute and realize as a Pastor, you come on strong from the first minute, 1. They come on too strong this blog has a lot of marketing gimmicks and SEO tactics on it 2. They tell rather than waiting to be asked You were preaching at me before asking me a thing 4. They want to be the center of attention see comments to points 1 and 2 5. You hear from them far too often in the first month First time on your blog is like a whiff of whoa, slow down there with the feed filled with recommendations of what advise I should take next from you 6.
They have a track record of moving around. Cloud and Jesus were not on the same wavelength. Best wishes. I believe it was Cloud and Townsend back then, though, perhaps the two have split since then. I have been far more surprised at the number of people who have almost no boundaries and suffer needlessly for years. In my view, Cloud and Townsend remain a gift to many people and leaders. Carey, I agree whole heartedly with you! Cloud and Townsend have blessed so many with the importance of setting boundaries — both with ourselves and with others. God has given us boundaries to abide to as well.
I find that those who do not abide by boundaries usually use members of the church as targets, to manipulate and use them so that they do not have to take responsibility for their own lives. I fully realize that as Christians we are to reach out to others, and most of us do. However, my experience has shown me that there are some people who have no desire to change and are not willing to accept help or counselling that would help them deal with their situations. In effect they drain others emotionally, physically and financially.
This often results in the genuine needs of others who truly need help and sincerely want to change, not being helped. Setting healthy boundaries is essential. Jesus helped those that genuinely wanted help, and wanted to change. Sadly, some people never want to change or take responsibility for their lives. And that is their right to make that choice.
But, it is also their responsibility to be accountable to their choices. Have you read Jesus love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that despite fully use you? Easier said than done, I totally agree. I keep complaining about a similar person in my church but I feel I have not done my part to pray enough for them. I like what you suggest to walk them off, but then Jesus expects us to love. He engaged even the toxic Pharisees, even dining with some of them. Of course they plotted and succeeded to get him killed and God had a better plan in all -even used — their hatred.
Of course we must be guarded in wise ways but Carey, even toxic people cannot split a church single handedly. Sometimes all toxic people do is exacerbate a bad situation and offer themselves as scapegoats, really. God bless you with more insights. I think I would be more concerned with people who have funky unbiblical ideas.
In my experience I have been involved with toxic pastors. The pastor I grew up with started out as a very dynamic pastor who grew a church from nothing to a congregation in a predominately Catholic town. I was 19 at the time. In one of the services I was attending, the Pastor mentioned that there was a car in the lot that had the side bashed in.
And again the pastor was a very dynamic person, so yes I do evaluate pastors in this same manner. But the interesting part of this article is that it sounds like the person you are describing is the apostle Peter. I love that you still love the church. For sure…this could describe at some level Peter, except toxic people mean ill, not good. Peter had good intentions, and Jesus worked with him.
Yes that is true. I have probably never met a better christian in this generation as you. Continue to grow strong in the Lord. I am a pastor reading all these has just strengthened my resolve for balance and thoughtfulness in utterance. It has been translated thousands of times through hundreds of ancient languages and dialects and retranslated into all current languages in several different versions.
How do you determine from that what god wants? The problem with Christianity today is people follow the bible instead of God, and since the bible has so many opposite instructions that people are forced to pick and choose what to follow, which is what leads to people thinking Gays are abominations but still sin by eating meat and cheese together and would never stone their daughter to death if she got pregnant without permission both are also in the bible.
The judgement of who will go to heaven and who will go to hell is up to God and God alone, and being hateful shatters one of the biggest of the 10 commandments, to love thy neighbor. Please, people, learn to separate religion from God, because too many put their faith in the wrong one.
Obviously you do not understand or take things in context or understand the timing and who at what point are being spoken to in the Bible. You do not reference Bible interpretation of Bible back between the different times of the Bible. You should also research the Dead Sea Scrolls and you will find that the interpretation of the language has pretty much been perfect, even punctuation. The translations words into other languages do you have some problems but there is plenty of study literature to send you back to the original and with in-depth definitions of the original words the actual truth of what was originally written is still available.
Nobody asked for a light-bulb. Nobody asked for a computer. Nobody asked the American colonies what their grievances were. In fact, they were ignored even so. Human beings should not wait for other human beings to ask for things before they freely offer them, be they ideas, suggestions, comments, demands, or otherwise. This article is in direct contention with free speech, and promotes the discrimination of people with a mind of their own. These are people who make you look bad. Be honest. Great insight. Coming from a toxic family I can speak from experience, toxic people are remorseless and purposely abusive and destructive.
Their toxicity is the core of who they are. They see no reason and have no desire to change. If you let your guard down they will not only damage, but outright destroy a person or an organization. They thrive on attention, power, and control. Praying the whole time for you and them of course! Thanks for this post! Heather…thank you. These are good all around flags. Sorry to hear about your background.
Glad you can see it for what it is and move forward in love. Thank you so much for your honest post. They do exist, and can and will destroy your entire life if you let them. Christianity is not about tolerating bad behavior. Some people are downright dangerous, and the flock needs to be protected from them. You are absolutely right, these are the same characteristics of people who are abusive in romantic relationships.
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Everyone with a mental illness is evil and beyond hope and redemption? In the pastorate, you may have those people who are the most willing individuals who want to serve. These people are well intentioned, and they carry with them longevity, and serve faithfully. However, there is a fuzzy boundary between serving with grace, and serving with an unhealthy or unhelpful expectancy.
One would hope that together, the willing servants, and the pastor would be able to serve together humbly. Timotheos…thanks for this. You are right. When I started ministry I read a piece by Lyle Schaller who warned about church matriarchs and patriarchs who behave as you describe. Thank you for this article. I have been pastoring more than 20 years and I appreciate your insights. They are very true. Detecting them early is the best way to go. The Bible clearly advices us not to accociate with tocic people who destroy.
By the way, I am not denying there are such people as described above. Secondly I find board members and pastors gossiping and slandering individuals in the church a common occurance over my 39 years of gathering such data. Further, as a class, board members and elders seem to blatantly violate the teachings of stewardship in the old and new testaments. Yet these eldors thrive for decades in our evangelical churches despite their violating the requirements for basic Christianity let alone the more stringent requirements for elders.
This statement is not true of all churches, and is more common in large evangelical churches located in the suburbs of large cities in the US. I was stunned to see this wealthy individual elected over other proven men. The pastor told me he had selected them due to their stewardship large donations to the building fund. Two years late the rich elder had divorced his wife of 23 years and replaced her with a woman that was 2 years older than his oldest daughter.
Christian maturity is something utterly different than what some in the church think it is. Sorry to hear that. Seems like a sweeping generalization. Our pastor fits 5 of the 6 items on your list all except moving around a lot. I encourage them to have a mature conversation with the pastor 1 on 1 and to resist fawning behavior.
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They carry with them list of things they would never do as a pastor. This was the third church I have attended in 39 years as a Christian. I have moved on to a small church of 60 members but wanted to share my experience. I have a list of what to watch out for to see if you have a toxic pastor. Conformity to Christ. If they act like prima donnas to their staff and then act like well-balanced transparent leaders from the pulpit known as faking maturity move on to a church with a pastor with some emotional and spiritual maturity who is not a hypocrite. I attended this church for over ten years thinking that I could encourage the pastor and staff to be unified and mature together.
The staff was too afraid to share the pain of their pastoral mistreatment. And the pastor was careful to only act that way behind closed doors. Again…so sorry to hear this. Great information thank you so much for your blogs.
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I have only been a pastor for a little over 2 years and I am still learning. Sharon…this is such an encouraging note. I love this community and how we can all learn from each other! Great post. It tells me that the system is cautious and closed. If a congregation sets up a dynamic where everyone has to be vetted and personally invited into leadership, many healthy and enthusiastic folks may walk back out the door to find a place that welcomes them with appreciation.
I can fall short of being meek and patent like most others, but like Many want live righteous. I guess I just hope for my short comings my church still takes me seriously. All of us our flawed people Andrew, but not everyone is toxic. Toxic people are people who damage many others. Of course they were never at fault anywhere or played any part in any church conflict of any kind.
Church boards, you NEED to check references and make calls to previous churches of where a job candidate served. Several years ago our church missed doing that and got burned in a big way. The person had a reputation for causing church splits and had burned many bridges.
Do you know why churches are closing left and right? I have been recently asked to leave a church for disagreeing with the Pastor. This is after I heard the message on how it is ok to disagree… Until I disagreed. Many church Pastors, not all, but most thrive on control, and misappropriate authority, and lord it over people. Most people are not toxic when you love them instead of judge them. Gives those of us trying to create healthy climates some encouragement. I pray you find a great church! Jim, just like there can be toxic members there can also be toxic leaders…but thats a whole other article.
I have a pastor friend who is literally all 6 of these. How can I help him in this. Good for you for caring enough to want to help. You might be. You might not be. Just let me know. I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Very few people think only of themselves all the time.
They are a small minority, but they have the resilience to spoil it for everyone. Sad, but true. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. I recently concluded a four year ministry in Mexico,without getting into to much detail,I can say my experience left me with a new appreciation with the Lords advice of not giving what is holy to dogs and casting our pearls before swine. The Gospel and knowledge we bring is the most valuable thing anyone can possess and we should act accordingly.
I also learned to be way more choosy about the Christians[ and ministries I align myself with because many of them are not from God or at a minimum not walking in the Spirit, which is essentialy the same. Keeping wolves away from your sheep or keeping tares from gaining root in the body is not being un Chrisitan it is following Scripture. Just look at all of the self centered ways they acted before Jesus returned to them in a glorified body. He stuck with them and returned to them. The accounts go on and on. I will choose to do what Jesus did and continue to let God work out the messes.
And this coming from someone who has left organized church planting ministry for a decade working with all types of wild ones with agendas. The one I found that could not change and was the most toxic was the one who was supposed to be the pastor of the pastors. When things became toxic to the point of hurting my family I put up a clear boundary and said adios. I said I must go. Sadly to many are viewing this wrong… this is more about the ministry teams of the church. It does not reflect on those that need to be ministered to. In a simple way, I would not want to go to a doctor who could not control his drug us and expect to get sound advice on how to not use drugs.
True we all sin but we should not be out of control or how could we lead others into the light. The shepherds calling is also to protect the ministry, lead the ministry into godly work, and make sure the scripture is followed. There is no way to please everyone but we should be more respectful as Followers of Christ. Cloud, though a respected leader with many helpful things to say, is not a substitute for the authority of Scripture that is so lacking in this piece!
Sir, you are portraying yourself as very judgmental not discerning. Our leading styles are way different, his being demanding and controlling. This demeanor of superiority has lead to alienation from our team members and distanced us from our church body. The inner turmoil I struggle with is great. I am to the point of resolving to do ministry separate from him, which breaks my heart becasue my desire is to work along my husband and serve our God together.
This strengthens a marriage, being a know it all kills it. Not being able to talk about this is also frustrating, as I do not want to berate my husband to our church family he has his good points too. It just seems I spend so much time as a referee and peace keeper for the sake of those he hurts, then he directs his anger with toxic accusations to me and my daughter. Believe me I have spent many hours in prayer and still only feel emotionally abused and manipulated and spiritually inadequate.
This has lead to our removal from ministry positions which I never experienced personally before we married. You need to talk to someone you trust. Follow the example of Biblical discipline in Matt. You being quiet and keeping the peace is not submission. You need to confront him one of one. Probably a male spiritual leader because it sounds like he has woman issues. You may need to provide some Godly consequences for your husband. The other thing you need to do is stop cleaning up his messes and protecting him from the consequences of his actions.
Emotional Manipulators are very dangerous to the environment in which they live, be it church, business, home, etc. Look up Emotional Manipulators on the Internet. Luke Plus, we have to remember that Jesus was more of a traveling evangelist and not a pastor. He chose his followers those he chose to work with more closely. Our church structure is set up very differently than the way Jesus operated. Some of the folks who are in our churches are probably the ones Jesus did not choose to follow him.
It also might be a reason Jesus did not stay in any given synagogue. Good luck learning about Emotional Manipulators. I pray your learning helps you heal. The person you are describing sounds like a person with Aspergers or someone with other deficient social skills. The commenter who talks about the member who spreads gossip and tries to turn people against one another?
THAT definitely sounds like a toxic person. My son is a dear who is eager to help, but he comes on like this. Throughout my life, patient mentors have made the difference in my life and helped me grow into a useful member of society and an effective volunteer activist. Tread carefully! Thank you for that caution. I have friends with Aspergers and this description is very different.
Hope that helps! I was raised by a sociopath with bi polar disorder and was never modeled appropriate behavior. Before that, as a child, I used tv as a behavioral handbook as you can imagine, that was hit or miss. Heather thanks for sharing your story. I really appreciate it. This post was directed at people who want influence and power or who intend to harm others, which is very different than belonging. Appreciate you sharing your story. Toxic people, are well, toxic. An unhealthy person can infect RT cnieuwhof: Are some people just toxic? Well, yes. I am a Youth Director currently cleaning up the damage from a toxic person.
This person has been asked to meet with the Pastor to get to the root and He for a time is willing to council with them. This person is welcome to participate in any other way other than leadership. As for me, I wish I had read this article years ago! A toxic person brings the focus to them. They say verbiage that they are doing what they are doing for others, but it becomes very apparent its about them.
Then they say what was already said, but in their words which apparently is better. They are very committed week after week, so you are thankful cause not many people are, so you keep them around until you have worn yourself out trying to make them happy. They use the Holy Spirit as their excuse to do the things or say the things they believe they must do or say. They do not respect authority. I can not give this person enough, they never feel needed.
Interestingly enough, feeling needed for them is leading worship, but not spending 5 hours at annual fall event we have just helping with activities and spending time with teens relationship. That actually happened. That was the straw that broke the camels back. I can not express the freedom, relief, joy in ministry since this person has been removed. Some of the teens who left are making their way back as well. The focus is back on the youth. I pray for this person regularly and hope they can be healed because their are definitely crippling things in their life. And yes, this person has gone to a few different churches in the past having the same problems.
I believe this is the toxic person Pastor Carey is referring too! Head his advise!
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Apparently some of the folks writing here have never dealt with truly toxic individuals. Because they will, it is their intention — whether it is a conscience decision or not. These are not the hurting and sick, they are the ones who intend to hurt and divide. And then there are wolves. Biblically, as a pastor or church leader, you cannot tolerate them doing the things mentioned in this article in your church.
Great job Carey, thanks for bringing truth. Those are very normal people that we will work with for years to come!
This post is about people who want to damage ministry for their own gain. Thankfully, they are rare. In my experience, I only have met 3 working at a large church for many years. They were: 1 — A woman who actively tried to turn friends and church members against one another through vicious gossip. He turned people away because of his bragging of his own knowledge, despite being kindly confronted by caring people who tried to explain why his tactics were turning people away.
We soon learned he wrote a book about it a terrible, unBiblical book, mind you and was trying to gain attention to promote his book. He yelled at teenagers who attended a church dinner… their first time at church. Those were truly toxic people who caused others to leave our church, and sometimes their faith. HUGE difference, and a good one to be aware of before attacking the author of this post! Amanda…this is exactly what I was talking about.
Thank you for the helpful, clarifying comment! I would never go to your church. Jesus said it was not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. Thank god in his grace I never came across someone like you into battles with depression and anxiety. Luisa…I appreciate that this article might have surprised you, but I promise you that some people do not mean well.
They are toxic. They are not just depressed or anxious. I have many people I work with regularly who struggle with a whole variety of issues. But toxicity is different. As Dr. If you allow too many toxic people in your organization, it will make your organization toxic. I think Don is right above. Carey, I agree with Luisa. I cannot understand why you are so offended at this article. It happens. There are people in churches who demand way too much attention and boundaries help regulate stuff so that their demands to infringe on the vision.
Your accusation makes YOU sound toxic. If the church will not love and help them, or at the very least, for starters, hold up a mirror to them to show them how they are affecting others, then who will, in a way that will point them to the kind of life they were meant to live? Emily…good point. The Bible says that the Lord restores our soul, Psalm 23, so he can and does restore pople. It sounds like you are thinking on the lines of the best way to move your church forward and for it to be healthy and protecting people from being hurt which is admirable, but Jesus said that he came for all and that means toxic people, so would it not be healthier to ask the Holy Spirit how you can love toxic people better.
Have a good bible word based discipleship course within the Church, training people up and starting with the basics. When everyone is moving in love towards others it will eliminate fear and help to change bad patterns, along with the word and the spirit, its the anointing that breaks the yoke. Maybe the questions to ask is why is that person toxic, what have they been through in their life, can I get some people who are stringer in the Church to come alongside them and disciple them and have heart to see them set free. This is the same for any Church you will get new converts who will come in with all sorts of issues, have you got anything in place for these people, discipleship, mentoring, healing prayer etc.
Church can be a spiritual hospital. Love is the key and sometimes I think we take on worldy ways of doing things that can verge on humanism. Some great points here. I think one of the differences between a dangerous toxic person and one who is not dangerous is their willingness to get well. The weapon to use is love. That would sure help to see peoples character grow! I mean the people on the Love team I mean its easy to love people who are willing to change or people we like etc.
True love is different than human love, its activating Gods love so it permeates into our love and how we react etc. But we can do all thing through Christ, so we can do it by abiding in him and by the spirit. Or we you asked? I agree with you on the whole, but just saying. Also, Protestantism kind of dwells on schisms. Unity expresses itself in many ways. One of my favourite things about the cities in which we minister is that the pastors of various denominations all support and encourage each other.
Thanks for these 6 warning signs. They provide a great filter for someone early in their ministry like me to tame the eagerness of having anyone and everyone with energy and ideas at the table. Thankfully, I have had the experience as a youth pastor to see the damaging effects of toxic people, on a church. What if the toxic person is your pastor or his wife? Everything was fine as long as I showed up and supported what they wanted to do. I even started a ministry at the church that is still going strong after 5 years.
I did attend for a few weeks prior to joining, because I wanted to get to know things and people. I also joined the choir and taught a Sunday School class one summer. When my own life job, health, etc. I tried to stay in touch with his wife, who I thought was my friend, and after she found out that my family had been friends with her former pastor with whom she had had some serious conflicts , she dropped me almost entirely. My own father is a pastor — has been in ministry for 40 years — and I have talked to him about some of these things.
I understand that people have issues, and that being a pastor is difficult; mistakes get made all the time, and I get it — I really do. This has just been really rough — I am not attending church anywhere now, although I have been able to visit online with another church on the other side of town different denomination so that I can worship, but I have to say that I am really, REALLY leery of going anywhere, and I want to try to sort out what to do about the situation, including my own contribution to it, so that I can move forward.
The Acts-era Jewish and Paulinist churches were communal collectives nothing like the hierarchical separated church model developed by the Roman Empire and adopted by Protestants with a few differences carried forward to our time. Jesus is calling us to the reign of God, without walls, where we meet people for His rule wherever we go, without paid clergy or the rest of the self-righteous pontificating of those who play God in the lives of Jesus followers.
In the meetings after the meetings, you can find your fellow Jesus followers who like their Bibles, too. No step overhead other than pay-as-you-go room rental, and because formal churches are doing such a poor job keeping people involved and contributing, you can probably even find step meetings in churches! This post confused me a bit. It seems to me that no one would really want to be toxic.
If they leave the church, then what is the right place for them? I hear a lot of truth in your post and really enjoyed reading it but it also struck a chord in me…perhaps there is something for me to learn. Jesus even speaks of being child-like. Henry Cloud talks about three categories of people: wise people, foolish people and evil people. Truly toxic people border between foolish and evil. You said it, LuiSa! Nothing to be sorry about. Hi Carey. You are a Pastor. Do you have a duty to preach about traits of a toxic person or to preach the gospel? When Pastors get on this bandwagon, they diminish their calling and undermine their focus.
More so, while there are indeed toxic people with some of these traits, your theory is that only introverts are healthy people to deal with, and that is grossly misleading. Who says some do not reserve their toxicity for later? I think the point is simple that if you let toxic people gain too much influence, everyone suffers, including the toxic person. The early church dealt with this on more than one occasion and the early church leaders were quick to remove people who damaged other people from leadership. He does have a duty to teach about the traits of a toxic person.
In his blog he is not preaching, he is teaching. I like preaching but I also like to be taught in detail and be able to ask questions about the subjects and to be able to make comments. Nothing, Miz Iz, in the Bible or teachings of Jesus states as you contend that he has a duty to teach about the traits of a toxic person. Good points to alert leaders to step back and observe their people. And, not to be confusing, to watch how congregants participate with each other.
We can always learn from first-hand experience, but we can also learn from the third-person perspective as well. For sure Janie.