Pastoring People with Personality Disorders

You probably know someone suffering from a personality disorder. However, you may not think of them in those kinds of diagnostic terms. Instead, you know them as that acquaintance, family member or parishioner who is extraordinarily: 

  • odd
  • eccentric
  • dramatic
  • arrogant
  • erratic
  • anxious
  • fearful

By the way, I did not just make up those terms. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders uses those words to help describe the conditions that are known collectively as personality disorders.

Some commonly known examples include Narcissistic, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Borderline personality disorders.

Now, if you don’t have to deal with a personality disordered person, you may find this article remotely interesting on a theoretical level. However, I assure you, if you have to relate to or pastor a truly personality disordered person, you probably feel desperate for any kind of help.


Because people with personality disorders typically prove to be extraordinarily difficult to relate to, communicate with, manage, and lead.

So, at the request of several pastors, I will be presenting a free, one-hour teleconference this coming Wednesday, January 25, Pastoring People with Personality Disorders.

Interested? I would have you with us!

Can’t make it? Well, here’s at a short tip on how to pastor people with personality disorders. (Of course, we will go into greater detail on the teleseminar.) I have formulated in the form of an acrostic, DEAL.

  1. Discern the disorder. Realize that the person has a mental difficulty and the normal rules of communication and relating will not apply.

  2. Educate yourself on the disorder. The more you can learn about personality disorders, the easier you will find ways of coping and helping.

  3. Adapt to the situation. As I mentioned earlier, normal ways of communicating and relating will not prove effective. You have to adapt and find ways to effectively communicate.

  4. Love them despite the drama or strangeness, or anger, or moodiness, or unreasonableness, as the case may be. After all, is that not God’s will for us in every situation?

You can get more information here about the teleseminar. Hope to “see” you there!


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