I’ve been reading a couple of articles and recent commentary on what to do if you think your Pastor may be a narcissist. The counsel is that you try to get along. If you cannot, then you should probably think seriously about leaving your church. You would be in a no-win situation. Another article suggested that you find a couple of elders and arrange to meet with the Pastor in order to work out the problem. This would happen after you have tried to talk with him privately to resolve the issue. This is good counsel if you are dealing with a reasonable person. A true narcissist is not a reasonable person. Their agenda is the only valid one and anything or anyone that gets in the way of this agenda will be destroyed. A true narcissist requires control of others. They are unable to accept the opinions of others. Others must think how they do. It’s not a matter of getting along with your narcissist Pastor, it’s about them needing to completely overcome and devour those around them. They strive to take over others’ identity, and life. Nothing else is permitted. They will keep persisting in this way until they either succeed or others are destroyed. They never give up this goal.
Narcissists are very deceptive. They lie without conscience. They do not feel guilt or remorse for any of their actions. They simply do not care for others the way we would think that a Pastor should care. This is the problem. How can a person like this shepherd a congregation of God’s people? They simply cannot and should not. They need to be removed from church leadership. Believers need a healthy Pastor who is looking out for them and guiding them in their path with God. The Bible says that a good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep. A narcissist would never do this willingly. He/she would save themselves and destroy the sheep if need be. A narcissist believes that their survival is paramount above everything else.
The church needs to find a way to detect a true narcissist. A narcissist will train others to be narcissists as well. This is called secondary narcissism. A secondary narcissist will be like a true narcissist and have the same characteristics. Some believe that there are many secondary narcissists in our society in the West. The church needs to identify these individuals and remove them from ministry.
In my own experience with a severe narcissist I believe that they can be saved. They can have a true salvation experience. The issue with a narcissist is their unwillingness to acknowledge that they have any faults that are harmful to others. A narcissist believes that their narcissism is a good thing and has no desire or willingness to try to make changes. They will not be honest with a therapist. You cannot trust or believe a narcissist. This is not how the Bible describes a true leader of God’s people.