Laggards are the covert source of most church conflict

F. Laggards are the covert source of most church conflict.[1] As chronically anxious people, Laggards attempt to define others by their own values and control the behavior and emotions of others; this is the opposite of healthy self differentiation. After the attempt to directly control others fails, Laggards can go covert to create conflict through blaming and triangling. Laggards can deliberately increase anxiety in order to trigger a thermostat correction in the Balancing process. As a change becomes normative, at some point Laggards become Innovators actively striving to repeal the current homeostasis.[2]

G. Laggards will tend to exhibit narcissism and believe the purpose of the church is to take care of their needs and the needs of their families. Laggards will focus on themselves rather than the need of the whole. Laggards will see little benefit in progressing through the stages of maturity toward missional self sacrifice or making disciples. Laggards will put the pastor on a pedestal and demand that the pastor serve their needs.

H. Laggard Testimony: Laggard comments can become quite nasty.

            I took a break from writing for a couple of months to further research the “seeker-sensitive,” “church-growth” movement; that tumorous plague that has become to the Christian community what AIDS is to the homosexual community. Those who have been infected always deny it publicly believing in their hearts they are righteous and extraordinary rather than depraved, dying and delusional . . .

            You’ll know that your church is becoming “seeker-sensitive” when the worship service begins to resemble an Amway convention run by pod people in polo shirts whose savior looks more like Bill Clinton with sunglasses and a saxophone than the Son of God hanging from a lonely cross for the sins of the world.[3]

HOMEWORK Discussion Questions:

2.30. Who do you know in this category, inside and outside the church?

2.31. For Laggards inside the church, what are their passionate interests?

2.32. What would a church made up entirely of Laggards be like?

2.33. What sort of church activity would be very appealing for Laggards?

2.34. How would people in this category prefer to follow Jesus?

2.35. How would a Laggard convince another Laggard to chair a committee?

2.36. How would a Late Adopter convince a Laggard to chair a committee?


[1]Henry Cloud, Enemies and Idiots: How to Deal with Toxic People (CCN Broadcast Date: September 13, 2005; available from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, United Media Resource Center (Item #105008), www.intraweb.igrc.org/umrc.Cf. Proverbs 22:10. Cf. M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983). Cf. Bill Easum and Bil Cornelius, Go Big: Lead Your Church to Explosive Growth (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006), 117-124.

[2]For example, at what point do Laggards seeking to restore the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Latin mass to common use in the Catholic church cease to be Laggards and become Innovators? Cf. Tim Townsend, “Old Latin Mass Makes a Comeback,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (06/14/2007), under http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/religion/story/A6A2D911CEA68E85862572FA000FFC09?OpenDocument (accessed August 19, 2007).

[3]Paul Proctor, Willow Creek: Hegelian Dialectic & the New World Order, http://etherzone.com/2001/proc121101.shtml (accessed June 15, 2007).

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