Pastoral narcissism in churches is a problem, from both a theological and practical perspective. In this study, we explore the question of whether church size is related to tolerance for narcissism. In the popular press, pastors of megachurches are often portrayed as narcissistic. The Dominance Complementarity Model of narcissistic leaders (Grijalva & Harms, 2004) predicts that churches which have less dominant followers, as may be the case in larger churches, would be more tolerant of narcissistic pastors than smaller churches. Yet larger churches also have the resources to hire the most qualified staff, which would presumably exclude candidates high in narcissism. This quantitative study of 64 Christians who attend various evangelical churches in the United States examines how these two tendencies play out. The results indicate that Christians in larger churches tolerate narcissism significantly more than Christians in smaller churches. To prevent this phenomenon from having damaging effects on churches, larger churches need to be careful in their hiring practices by looking for signs of narcissism and holding their leadership accountable for godly behavior.
Dunaetz, D. R., Jung, H. L., & Lambert, S. L. (2018). Do Larger Churches Tolerate Pastoral Narcissism More Than Smaller Churches?. Great Commission Research Journal, 10(1), 69-89. Retrieved from https://digitalarchives.apu.edu/gcrj/vol10/iss1/16