Helping the Victim Leader


How do we help Victim leaders?  Let’s review their tendencies:

  • They have been trained to tolerate the intolerable and in the name of God, endure the sufferings of their own doing and those imposed by zealous insensitive leaders.
  • They expect suffering and chaos feels normal.
  • They don’t stick up for themselves or defend themselves well.
  • They lack boundaries.
  • They have poor self care.
  • The ministry (others) runs them vs. running their ministry.
  • Very poor at confrontation.
  • Allow others to victimize them.
  • They don’t ask hard questions or challenge strong leadership.
  • They tolerate chaos and chalk it up to God’s will.

I asked a provocative question several weeks ago: “Could it be that some of the noble heroes whom we praise and use as sermon illustrations were really victims who perhaps suffered unnecessarily or for unhealthy reasons?”  While we may never know the answer, our goal is to put strong people into ministry who as much as possible can carve a path instead of the path carving them.

There are several things that need to change:

Adjust expectations:

Not everyone is called to martyrdom and misery. Yes, Paul, Jesus and His disciples experienced suffering and didn’t always have a place to lay their head some nights.  Yet I’m sure they enjoyed the hospitality of others and savored many fine meals. It’s ok to have nice surroundings if the opportunity affords itself.  The Apostle Paul said he had learned to be content in all circumstances… plenty and little.  While he was all about the business of ministry, I’m sure he enjoyed the good days when they came along.   Paul didn’t seek suffering, he simply expected it to come from time to time as he served the King.

Overcome Guilt:

Many victims can’t let themselves enjoy life and pleasantries, they feel guilty.  Their low self worth doesn’t allow them to enjoy, soak in and embrace the good gifts that God brings along.  Guilt often causes them to feel conflicted and only stick their toe in the waters of enjoyment for a short while.  To plan self care and get a massage, buy something for themselves, take a vacation, enjoy down time, explore a hobby, or travel, is almost impossible for guilty victims. Have someone hold you accountable for self care.  Put it in your calendar and stick to it.

Enter community as a member not a minister:

Connecting with a healthy group of believers will help guide victim leaders into healthier perspectives toward maturity in Christ. Because they are usually very shame based, they have tendencies toward hiding and isolating.  They  are not used to sharing their pain with others.  Finding a place of community where they can be loved and nurtured will help them learn to share real needs and be validated and encouraged.  A safe place where the “one anothers” of body life can be experienced by the victim leader.

Allow themselves to be re-parented by a mentor:

One of the spiritual gifts God placed within the Body of Christ are encourager / counselor types. They come along side others and help them along the way… growing up in undeveloped areas within. Counselors help people heal which changes their view of themselves, God and others. Additionally, healing occurs when victim leaders learn to grieve the atrocities of childhood, get angry at the real origins of pain, stop blaming themselves and forgiving those who caused harm.

I do hope that some of the ideas have helped you in some way during this brief series on leadership.  Until the Lord returns and relieves us of duty, we need to be always striving toward personal growth and sanctification in our service within the Kingdom.

Our blessings and prayers are with you.

Thanks for listening.


Milan and Kay

Next week:  You’ll be hearing from Kay