Pastor-Church Relationships from a Biblical & Systems View


Fused pastor/church


Aron and the Golden Calf

In the world


​Others are Lord

​Does what the group wants

​Focuses power on enabling

​Sympathetic savior to fix it

​No freedom from family of origin

​Seeks to live out the expectations of others with a weak unclear identity.

​Others control


Out of balance

​Weak doctrinal boundaries for the mind

​Weak relational boundaries for the heart

​Weak spiritual boundaries for the soul.

Weak behavioral boundaries for the body


​Morally lax, cheap grace

Sexual affairs

​Divided soul

​Pastor/church fused with weak or no emotional boundaries

​Enmeshed/fused with the feelings of others and controlled by the anxiety of others

Easily infected by the anxiety of others

​Always changing (chameleon)

You & them

Triangulated relationships​

​Pseudo self

Need to feel safe by staying fused

​Self's deepest need for community & sense of self finds a pseudo solution in fusion with others.

​Authority is unknown apart from the group

​Respect is unknown apart from the group

​Very anxious to keep the peace at all costs

​Lacks the ability to focus

​Anxious over function

​Out of control chaos and conflict


​No ability to form goals

​Rampant Congregational henpecking

​Congregational Henpecking Increases fusion by anxious leadership

​No clear personal identity

​No individual freedom

​Low functioning or over functioning when the chaos/anxiety of others is high

​Attacks a straw man image of the pastor as a professional by just being one of the folks and a weeping ‘wily’

​Brother visit all & do it all.

​Hail fellow well met

​Mr. Glad-handler

​Visible during the week, but poor in the pulpit

​​Polarized crowd or heard​​​​​

Possible Psychological Issues


Depressed Dependent



Compulsive workaholic


Intimate pastor/church


I Peter 5:1-3

In the world but not of it


Jesus is Lord

Does what the Lord leads

Focuses power on equipping others

​Empathetic leader

​Freedom from family of origin

Seeks to live out of a focused calling with a clear identity


​Power used to build up others


​Healthy doctrinal boundaries for the mind.

​Healthy relational boundaries for the heart.

​Healthy spiritual boundaries for the soul.

​Healthy behavioral boundaries for the body.

Mission oriented and transformational

​Healthy morality, biblical, grace-based

​Sexual integrity.

Undivided Soul

​Pastor/church interdependent with healthy emotional boundaries.

​In contact with their own feelings and those of others, but not controlled by them.

​Not easily infected by other’s anxiety.

​They have a healthy ability to adapt to change while maintaining identity.

I, you, & us

​Freedom from triangulation

​Authentic self

​he Need to Feel Safe is met by healthy well balanced relationships and separatedness.

​Self's deepest need for community & a sense of self is met in relationship with God.

​Authority is internal but is affirmed externally by others.

​Respect is both shared and earned.

​Serene, at peace with themselves and the world around them. Lives in and operates from the peace of God which passes all understanding for it guards their heart and mind.

​Pastor and healthy leaders are able to focus

​Orderly functioning

​Anxiety/chaos does not control.


Able to form goals.

​Very Little Congregational Henpecking and/or has little impact.

​Congregational Henpecking is defused by non-anxious leadership.

​Clear personal identity

Individual Freedom

​Can function well and live despite the chaos/anxiety of others.

​Combines both heart and head to live the best meaning of the word professional for he or she maintains character along with outward polish.

Pastor equips others for ministry and is focused on ministering from their strengths.

​Sincere with integrity

​Purposeful ministry with a

​Balance of incarnation and proclamation.

Possible Psychological Issues.

Average psychological issues





III John 9-10

Not in the world nor of it

Escapist, other worldly

I am lord

Does things their way only

Focuses power on controlling

Callous dictator

Pseudo freedom from family of origin

Imposes expectations on others to prop up a pseudo identity

Control of others

Power used to build up self

Out of balance

Rigid  doctrinal boundaries for the mind

Rigid relational boundaries for the heart

Rigid spiritual boundaries for the soul.

Rigid behavioral boundaries for the body.

Exclusive/fortress mentality

Moralistic & legalistic. law, shame, condemnation

Pseudo Sexual integrity and Sexual abuse

Pseudo Undivided Soul.

Pastor/Church with rigid emotional boundaries.

Out of touch with their feelings and the feelings of others. Attempt to control the feelings of others.

Infect others with their anxiety.

They don’t change but force others to change.

Me, Myself, & I

Triangulates others

Pseudo Self

The Need to Feel Safe is met by playing a role, keeping others at a distance, and being a control freak.

Self's deepest need for community & a sense of self is met by claiming they are special and thus can live as if they are an island.

Authority is external for it is bolstered by a position and not the character of the person.

Respect is demanded using Scripture alone.

Very anxious to maintain control of others for control equals peace with the appearance of peace and slick professionalism.

Overly focused tunnel vision

Church  feels used

Very anxious control of chaos


Impose goals on others.

Those practicing Congregational Henpecking are identified, rebuked, disciplined and sometimes expelled.

Congregational Henpecking is eliminated through manipulation.

No Individual freedom

Pastor is a church killer

Slick professionalism in the worst sense of the word for appearance is everything and personal character is not maintained.

The Reverend C.E.O.

Manipulator and Exterminator

The Executive office person

Invisible during the week and invincible on Sunday

Cult or Cultish

Possible Psychological Issues


Borderline-high functioning


Compulsive workaholic