The 8 Destructive People in Your Church


The 8 Destructive People in Your Church

AGGRESSORS: Aggressors are always on the march for their own ideas. They push their viewpoint incessantly, regardless of merit. Often they win just by wearing others down. Their battle cry is, “The best defense is a good offense!”

SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDED: These people seem to be against everything. They attack others ideas with ferocity. Sometimes they attack other people directly. When they are around, you know you are always in for a fight. Their battle cry is, “They may win, but we’ll make ’em pay!”

COMMANDERS: Commanders are those who need to be in control, to call the shots. They are also known individually as the “church boss.” Commanders feel that without their control, the church will falter and die. They are therefore indispensable and must be consulted on all decisions. Each commander is the power broker in the church. Their battle cry is, “I’m in charge here at the church!”


SNIPERS: Snipers operate from hiding places. They hide behind others, or they talk secretly behind your back, sending deadly bullets to destroy your credibility, damage your reputation, and undermine your influence. Because they camouflage their efforts so skillfully, you seldom know where the shot came from. Nor do you know when or from what angle the next one is coming. Their battle cry is whispered as they tighten the trigger, “Watch your back, Jack!”

SMART BOMBS: These are the perfectionists, the people who are always right. On whatever issue, theirs is the only correct approach.’ No other approach is rational or biblical or spiritual. Those who do not agree are seen as obstacles. Since, to the Smart Bombs, these are issues of right and wrong (they are right; others are wrong), there is almost a moral obligation to remove the obstacles, and any means of doing so is justified. They often employ snipers. Smart Bombs must win. In the end, they blow up the ministry. Their battle cry is, “I’m right! You’ll see!”

STEALTH BOMBERS: These are the people who simply try to destroy you because they disagree with you. When you least expect it, they will roll a hand grenade under your door and feel relieved to have you out of the way. They also like letter bombs. “Dear Elder Bob, I don’t like to say this, but I feel that I must tell you that…” Their battle cry is, “Yea, though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil, for I’m the meanest man in the valley!”

PSY-WARRIORS: Psy-warriors win by spreading misinformation. They are experts at “spin” and know how to make a lie sound believable. They rewrite history with such bold artistry that eyewitnesses to the same events are left scratching their heads in bewilderment. They are experts at making you feel like you were in the wrong. Their battle cry is, “And there are lots of others who feel this way!”

STRATEGISTS: Strategists are the power players who are skilled at getting what they want. They are adept at finding and exploiting weaknesses that open the way to achieve their goals. They are the manipulators who devise clever strategies to build their power base or get the votes they need. They skillfully use the other types of problem people to further their own strategies. Their battle cry is, “My ends justify any means!”

It’s easy to see this in others but which one do we see in ourself?

God help us learn how to love and lead these people as we grow to become more like Christ…


  • Edgar Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987), 270.
  • Calvin Miller, The Empowered Leader: 10 Keys to Servant Leadership (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 130.
  • K. Morrison, Leadership Skills (Tuscon, Ariz.: Fisher, 1983), 149.
  • Norman Shawchuck, How to Manage Conflict in the Church (Irvine, Calif.: Spiritual Growth Resources, 1983), 23.
  • Glenn M. Parker, Team Players and Teamwork (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990), 42.
  • Shawchuck, How to Manage Conflict in the Church,
  • Morrison, Leadership Skills,
  • Shawchuck, How to Manage Conflict in the Church, 269.
  • Andrew Seidel, Charting a Bold Course, 267-269

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