The Church Growth Ethos, Presbyterians, & Narcissism

An increasing number of pastors in the PCA are either resigning or being fired due to their narcissistic abuses undermining their ministry, which is truly disheartening. However, the more significant issue lies in the job advertisements for pastors, which often attract narcissistic individuals in the first place. The Church Growth Movement (CGM) exacerbates this issue.

The desire for “church growth” resembles a cancer within conservative Protestantism that extends into the PCA. It sheds light on the prevalence of noxious celebrity-seeking, the toleration of pastoral abuse, the concealment of sexual assault cases involving women, children, and young men, and the recruitment of outright narcissists as pastors.

Narcissists excel at growing churches initially, but the very narcissism that fuels this growth eventually turns abusive, leading to the church’s demise. The fault lies with the church, not solely the pastor, as they were the ones who initially hired the narcissistic pastor.

…In my view, the over-reading of the Book of Acts (conflating a narrative as prescription for what is normal), nostalgia for episodic Christianity’s growth during the Great Awakenings in the United States, and the imprudent embrace of business and “leadership” principles within the GCM have collectively resulted in a significant disaster. Placing too much emphasis on church growth tends to lead to the deliberate oversight of issues such as sexual and pastoral abuse. Why? Because negative publicity hampers growth.

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Anthony Bradley | “The Church Growth Movement Ruined The Reformed and Presbyterian World” | December 5, 2023


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One comment

  1. Bradley wrote, “Self-effacing men live vicariously through Wilson, staunchly defending him regardless of the issue at hand.”

    A shame that many male congregants cling to tenets of a pulpit megalomaniac who’s more steeped in narcissistic meology instead of Christ-centered theology.

    The same men probably adulated (or would in the present) former pastor Mark Driscoll, who wrote over 20 years ago (under a pseudonym) that women serve solely as penis houses.

    Oh yes…that’ll certainly woo women into embracing Reformed complementarianism…

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