Antagonists in the Church
Definition of an antagonist: someone who on the basis of non- substantive evidence, goes out of their way to make insatiable demands, usually attacking the person or performance of others; these attacks are selfish in nature, tear down rather than build up, and are frequently directed against leadership. (p. 27)
Kinds of antagonists: hard core (usually irrational, unreasonable). Major antagonist (possible to reason with them, but they will not be reasoned with). (p. 28)
Ability to Work With
Level of Conflict
|Impossible situation||Intractable||Destroy Opponent at any cost to them or me|
|Very difficult||Fight/Flight||Hurt opponents or get rid of them|
|Tough||Contests||Win, put others in their place|
|Easiest||Problem to solve||Work out a solution|
1. Is his/her behavior disruptive'
2. Is the attack irrational'
3. Does he/she go out of h/h way to initiate trouble'
4. Does h/s make insatiable demands'
5. Are h/h concerns minimal or fabricated'
6. Does h/s avoid causes that involve personal risk/suffering/sacrifice'
7. Does h/h motivation appear selfish'
Red Flags To Watch For:
1. Previous track record
2. Parallel track record (antagonist at work, school, club, etc.)
3. Nameless others: “At least 24 others feel this same way.”
4. Criticism of predecessor
5. Instant buddy
6. Gushing praise
7. “I Gotcha!” Asks leading questions, tries to trap you.
8. Extraordinary likeability
9. Church hopper
11. Uses aggressive means: extreme, combative, unethical 12. Flashes $$$
13. Takes notes at inappropriate times
14. Sarcasm, cutting language
15. Different drummer, always doing things their own way
16. A pestincessant phone calls, questions, etc.
17. The “cause”
Early Warning Signs:
1. Chill in the relationship
2. Honeyed “concerns”“Dear pastor, I have a concern about ...” may mean “Im angry!!”
3. Nettlesome questions
4. Mobilizing forces, pot stirring
5. Meddling in others responsibilities
Later Warning Signs:
5. Misquoting scripture
6. “Judas kissing”“Im your friend, but I have to say...”
8. Letter writing (dont respond with a lengthy, reasoned answer)
1. Follow established policies
2. Functional feedback channels
3. Job descriptions
4. Broad base of responsibility
5. Discipline that works
6. Anticipatory socializationlet people know plans
7. United front within leadership
Relating To Dormant Antagonists:
1. Act professionally
2. Keep your distance
3. Be accurate, dont guess, estimate
4. Avoid excessive positive reinforcement
5. Tighten the reins
6. Dont seek sympathy from others
7. Dont form a committee to look into accusations, this only appears to give credibility to their charges
8. Dont call for a vote of confidence
Dont use public channels to combat antagonists. This only gives them attention and credibility.