The Narcissistic Pastor
Narcissism abounds in society and churches today. Narcissists know no boundaries and will utilize all their resources to do their bidding. The narcissist is in business for themself, and because that is the end goal, people are tools in his hand. That is the case with men like Mike Reid. He has a long track record of using people for his benefit.
What eventually happens with some of them is that they come to realize the play after a while and find a way out. One aspect of an easy mark is young men who are either fatherless or have had complex relationships with their fathers. The narcissist can spot them and fill a void in their life. He will use them for his purposes and, when he’s done will spit them out if they don’t catch on first.
I could name some of them, but that’s not fair to them. They, in a sense, are unwitting victims. While they are victims, they also have become victimizers. They seek out new guys to fill the void of the old guys who left or caught on.
This behavior is all done in the name of religion. We are seeking a higher level of holiness here, and in many cases, this appeals to the young man if he hasn’t had this in his life. The narcissist is an expert at using a zealous personality to pull him in, pay attention to him, and set the hook deep.
In a recent situation, I saw how the newbie wrote things he didn’t come up with himself. The narcissist was using this guy to do his bidding. He said things through the newbie he didn’t want to express himself. He wanted to say them, but he knew if he did, they would be used against him, so he ‘cleverly’ used the kid to do it for him.
It’s sad and laughable all at the same time. I can only think what it must be like to build your own little kingdom around you and fight so hard to keep it going through force and manipulation. Someday, if he is fortunate, the kingdom will crumble, and he will be standing there wondering what happened. The other scenario is that his kingdom never crumbles until he dies, and he stands before God, trying to explain why he hurt so many to keep his kingdom going.
I recently read a book called Under Authority by Kimalee Finelli, and she describes what could have been after the kingdom fell from her narcissistic pastor and authoritarian leader. She writes,
Pushing away my gleeful guilt, I allowed myself a space to mourn the church’s fate when it had potential to be great. As one of only a few churches in the area at the time, it could have been the kind of church that loved its members and community, reached out to others who were hurting, shown people the real love of Jesus, and restored life to families rather than destroy them.
Lord help them, Lord help us all.