10 Signs Of Bad Church Leadership

A church is where you give and receive love, grow in faith, and discover God. When the one who protects and guides us veers off the path, we are all harmed. People might even leave the church after bad interactions with bad church leaders. Indeed, poor church leadership might even result in the eventual failure of the church as a whole.

After today’s Sunday services, I reflected on the stages of leadership training that I had undergone, and how I might apply this roadmap to help others along the same path.

Make no mistake, church leadership is a BIG responsibility. It’s important to have well-trained church leaders to have a healthy congregation. However, not all churches have good leaders. In this blog post, we will discuss the 10 signs of bad church leadership.

Signs Of Bad Church Leadership

signs of bad church leadership

We want you to realize that not all churches are healthy. Following are the 10 signs of bad church leadership:

1. There Are Too Many Expectations Placed On Members

A recent Deloitte survey showed that job burnout is a major problem, with 77% of respondents indicating they have experienced it. Over half of those surveyed reported multiple instances of burnout. There’s a strong chance that members of your church are among them. When congregation members are overburdened, it’s often a sign of bad church leadership because small churches require more planning when it comes to utilizing their human resources.

You may experience this problem if:

  • People need to be coaxed into volunteering.
  • Regular volunteers are answering your texts with increasing lag time.
  • Events lack enthusiasm.
  • Newcomers are frequently given important responsibilities.

2. Members Aren’t Subjected To Enough Expectations

In the same way, a congregation may be harmed by having too many obligations. But there must be balance. A church that never asks anything of its members can also suffer.

You might experience this issue if:

  • Congregants constantly want to help.
  • Your team and you do most of the work.
  • People want pastors to handle everything.

3. Politics Dictate Decision-Making

Deacons and pastors often lie awake at night, anxious about bad leadership decisions. If you want to avoid these disasters, start planning and strategizing like a presidential campaign manager.

Is it necessary to replace the sanctuary carpet? Every weekend, Team Red and Team Purple will go on campaign tours. Do you want to paint the nursery? The Women’s Ministry is influencing the deacon board.

If the voting procedure gets snagged or someone votes unexpectedly, Heaven assists the leadership team’s sleep pattern since the “evening” meeting will last into the early hours.

signs of bad church leadership
10 Signs Of Bad Church Leadership

You may experience this problem if:

  • Congregants are establishing alliances just like characters from Game of Thrones.
  • The church frequently overlooks easy solutions in favor of more popular ones.
  • Important church leaders are very at ease using their influence as leverage.

4. Gossip Is A Sign Of Poor Church Leadership

Gossip can shape communal norms, according to a study published in Psychological Science. The Bible advises us to control our tongues. Because rumors and defamation are harmful and erode trust, they also detract from the church’s ability to assist people spiritually grow—leaders of churches gossip to dominate their members.

You might experience this issue if:

  • Congregants have left due to gossip
  • People don’t feel comfortable being open and vulnerable in your church.
  • Certain members are known for spreading false rumors.

5. Pastor Calls Shots

In 2006, Kobe Bryant had an unbelievable game where he scored 81 points, almost two-thirds of his team’s total points. Certainly, Mr. Bryant was the franchise player on his team. However, that game became historic because it wasn’t something that happened regularly.

Likewise, for many churches, the pastor is the franchise player. The pastor is in charge of organizing or promoting fundraising efforts if activities must be planned or promoted. But he/she can’t do it all every day.

Bad church leadership shows:

  •  People saying “Yes” will dominate the board.
  • When delegating, the leadership micromanages.
  • In response to criticism, the pastor becomes defensive.

6. Conflict Is Common

A high-conflict church is, without a doubt, something that every Christian has been through or heard about. Everyone had to dig in when talking about the Thanksgiving potluck cuisine.

You might experience this issue if:

  • Members frequently insult or treat each other with contempt.
  • There is a pervasive disrespectful culture.
  • There are frequently violent altercations and outbursts of rage.

7. Always Chaos

Being friends with a disorganized person can be frustrating. They’re always running late or forgetting things. Many churches are hotbeds of drama because they lack organization. The chaos is amplified on special days like Mother’s Day because everything is a last-minute scramble.

Bad church leadership shows:

  • Resources are always overbooked.
  • Every week presents a new emergency.
  • There’s no predictability in setup and planning.

8. Congregational Needs Are Ignored

There is never a plan to ignore the needs of the congregation. This develops gradually. Perhaps the pastoral team is so inspired by community outreach that they overlook parish weariness.

Maybe the staff forgot to make additional arrangements for young families because it was much easier to skip the nursery. The conclusion is irrelevant, regardless of how the problem started; when a church’s congregation wants zagging, the church zags.

Bad church leadership shows:

  • Congregants claim that they are not receiving enough spiritual nourishment.
  • When it comes to achieving church goals, people are sluggish.
  • For a very long time, people have been running on empty.

9. Church Lacks Discipleship

All Christians may benefit from spiritual growth. Many people’s lives have been altered by following God. Stagnating between work, school, family, and life is easy.

There are no shortcuts to developing your worship team. Many of your spiritual mentors had coaches who guided them in God. You must provide development opportunities as a church. Churches frequently overlook discipleship, which is a shame.

Bad church leadership shows:

  • Even the most mature of your Christians are still spiritually undeveloped.
  • Spiritual mentorship is lacking.
  • You keep going through the fundamentals without getting to the spiritual meat of the matter.

10. Results Don’t Matter

Many people fail to realize this, but it’s a key indicator of bad church leadership. If your church has a lot of traditions that are no longer effective, it may be because nobody ever asked whether or not they were still working in the first place. Alternatively, maybe the issue isn’t with the team itself but the hiring process – you may have chosen personnel based on who they knew instead of their qualifications.

You might experience this issue if:

  • Most of your important employees have political or personal ties to influential people in your religion.
  • Projects are frequently carried out haphazardly.
  • Despite having solid systems, you still have trouble getting things done.


What does a church that isn’t healthy look like?

A focus on prayer is key to a thriving church. Your church members should come together frequently to pray for and with one another. Several warning signs indicate your church is in trouble, such as a lack of respect for God and minimal emphasis on prayer.

How do I know if my pastor is bad?

Another sign of a dysfunctional pastor is their abuse of power. They often mishandle offerings and tithes and force employees to do things against their will using emotional manipulation tactics. By claiming that “this is what God said to do,” they convince followers to participate in wrongful deeds.

Why do some pastors fail to lead?

One of the more underappreciated characteristics of a poor pastor is their need to be in the spotlight. It’s an obvious sign of elitism. A pastor from another church will never be allowed to preach at their church. They won’t allow any second-rate pastors on stage.

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