There are two characteristics that are important to consider with the passive-aggressive Christian:
1) a time awareness that focuses on the present moment and deletes memory of past mistakes, ignoring the foresight required for planning, calculating risks, and anticipating upcoming threats to the church, and
2) a passive refusal to accept the instruction, discipline, and sacrifice in earning credentials for getting ahead in a culture that values greatly things such as college degrees and professional competency and licenses.
The passive-aggressive Christian is essentially unwilling to choose a teacher or a friend from whom s/he can learn. They believe that they can pick up things from experience, on their own. They are willing to accept money and other favors from people in authority but unwilling to accept consultation, instruction, warning or admonition.
They carry a persistent mode of never having any good luck. If a specific situation does not turn out right, it is because other people have let them down, did not do what they said they would do, or were plainly not doing their job right. They are unwilling to be responsible for their own actions.
This character is a "yes, but..." man. They may courteously agree that your ideas are good but then begin to point out all the hindrances one might encounter. Or they may quietly agree but then procrastinate, dawdle, forget, and finally miss out on the opportunity until it is too late. In other words, they let life pass by default.
When the opportunity is past, they become morose and sullen and can be impulsive, unpredictable and explosive. They then make impulsive changes and drag their family and friends (and sometimes the church if they are a church leader) into surprising and dramatic changes. They may buy or sell property, or spend money inordinately which reveal great impairment of judgment.
How can the church help the passive-aggressive Christian?
Underlying their behavior is a fear of making a mistake, trying to be perfect but knowing that they cannot be perfect. Hence, they usually doesn't follow thru with decisions. To help them find confidence, we need to develop a program of close supervision over a period of time. They need small successes that lead to larger successes.
This person needs to recognize the voice of God's Holy Spirit, learning to act upon these promptings immediately. We can lay a gentle but firm hand of encouragement on their shoulder and be a Barnabas, a person of encouragement.
Many thanks to the deceased Dr. Oates from whom much of this information is taken. His seminal work Behind the Masks should be read by those in positions of leadership in the church.
BE A MAN.