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The Pastor's Heart - Emotional Vampires: Jenny Woodhouse & Dominic Steele

Pastoring difficult personalities in Christian Ministry: Albert Bernstein calls them ‘Emotional Vampires’

How do I (as a senior pastor) express the love of Jesus to those with different personality disorders: the narcissist, histrionic, paranoid personality disorder, OCD (both types), psychopaths, or the person with borderline personality disorder?

There are people in every church who consume much more than their fair share of everyone's time and energy, particularly the senior ministers time.

Jenni Woodhouse is a former chaplain to the Professional Standards Department of the Sydney Anglican Church and now is a chaplain to missionaries with the Church Missionary Society.

What do you look for? How do you recognise and respond? What do you do when you discover this?

Once you are recognising what’s happening, you are already caught into an unhealthy dynamic.

What are they doing to your head? What are they doing to others? How much time do you spend?

If you withdraw they may stab you in the back and work to undermine the ministry. These people can be very divisive. Some will be on their side. Others will see clearly the damage that they are doing. As a minister, you need to choose who to listen to.

And, what do you do when someone comes to you and says ‘Person X is not well?’

How do you help people who are in relationships with people with personality disorders?

And what about when you take over the leadership of a new church and there are people with personality disorders?


Length: 34mins

The Pastor’s Heart is a new Australian weekly interview program with a senior Australian pastor. Each week at 2pm on Tuesdays (Sydney time) Dominic Steele will speak live with a senior Australian pastor and take questions live via Facebook from other pastors and ministry leaders. You can submit your questions either beforehand or live at Or see more at

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Keywords:Difficult people, emotionally drained ministry,