I’m excited to be part of the launch team for Chuck DeGroat’s newest book coming in March, When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse.
The connection between what I’m writing about in my Giant Church Inc series and the topic Chuck addresses in his book should come as no surprise. Still, I am. I knew it was a problem, but I’m shocked at how common it is.
Since publishing Why I Left Giant Church Incorporated, I’ve received hundreds of messages from all over. Those who’ve left a toxic church and still working through it. Parents who say their children have vowed to never step foot in another place of worship. Lay leaders wondering if their church is healthy. Staff members who know their working for a narcissistic pastor, but feel trapped and terrified. Others simply thanking me and the others for saying what they’ve wanted to say, and who pray for us to keep speaking out.
This narcissistic leadership and its culture has no place in the body of Christ, but we read about it weekly in the news. Willow Creek. Harvest Bible Chapel. Mars Hill. The Southern Baptist Convention. The Acts 29 church planting network.
Church, we have a problem. Chuck points us to the source of the problem in his book.
It’s us. We are part of the problem.
I’m halfway through the book and it’s already well worn – dog eared pages, highlights throughout. The notes and underlines and asterisks validate my own experiences with narcissistic pastors within a narcissistic system.
Tragically, some of these pastors leave massive and painful debris fields in their wake. Their victims are staff members and spouses, members of their small group, and friends who dare to speak truth.Chuck DeGroat, When Narcissism Comes to Church
This will be an important and necessary read for anyone connected to the church in any way.
Choose to See
Don’t turn away. Choose to prayerfully evaluate your own issues, then look closely at your place of worship. Do the hard work of paying attention. Ask the hard questions. If others have spoken out, listen. Don’t ignore the pain and outcry of your brothers and sisters.
Choose to see. Choose to care.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.“
Matthew 5:3-10 ESV