Why Do Some Church Leaders Think They're the Messiah?

I was a pastor for about thirty years. And I’ve been a member of some churches and ministries too. During this time, I discovered something very eye-opening and shocking…

Many religious leaders have a Messiah complex.


And this behaviour is often supported by their congregation. This is because there is a symbiotic relationship, a mutual complicity, between Messianic leaders and people who want a Messiah. For those of us who started to question our relationship with the church and maybe even left the church already, this is one of the most difficult realizations to reconcile.

We willingly participated, sometimes with great zeal, in something we found out later wasn’t good for us. We allowed our pastors or spiritual mentors or leaders to think too highly of themselves because, in the end, we discovered we thought too highly of them.
The sad fact is that Messianic leaders can only exist if they have a Messianic following.
In the past, I’ve followed a few people with Messianic complexes. I’ve had to ask myself why I gravitated towards them. What need was I trying to meet? What was I hoping they could do for me? Why did I wait so long to tear myself away or to be cast out of their orbit?

One answer is that I was looking for a father figure… someone to guide me, encourage me and permit me because I was afraid, or didn’t think I was capable, of validating myself. 

Have you found yourself under the influence of a person with a Messianic complex? Did you break free?


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1 comment

Such a great point! The way I’ve thought of it is that most pastors aren’t actually members of their own church, and that’s a very big problem. I came to this realization when I lovingly tried to help a pastor see some of the harm they were doing in our church. I quickly realize that it wasn’t our church. It was his church, And if it didn’t go his way, then, that was a problem for him. He was a great pastor, and a great guy, but try as I might I couldn’t get him to see that he was trying to be the Shepherd and not the hired hand. I appreciate you drawing attention to this issue. It’s a bigger problem than we realize, for both pastors and congregates. Keep up the good work my friend.

J. Randall Stewart aka The Construction Monk

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