church, narcissism, pastors, pastoral theology


Can churches take on the pathological behaviors associated with narcissism through the influence of a narcissistic pastor? While there is a large body of literature on narcissistic individuals, and a smaller body of research into narcissistic organizations, there is little research on the prevalence of toxic narcissism in clergy and little to none on narcissistic churches. This paper is written from the perspective of currently available research and the author’s experience in working with churches suffering from severe internal conflicts in which both the pastor and church evidenced toxic levels of narcissism. The intent is to increase awareness, open a dialogue and spur research into the phenomenon of narcissistic clergy and how they influence their churches.