The passive-aggressive religious bad boy has a negativistic or oppositional personality. He has many ambivalent and contradictory behaviors. In the church, this man may be chosen to chair a committee but may never get around to having meetings and misses deadlines.
There are two characteristics that are important to consider with this bad boy:
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 religious bad boy is essentially unwilling to choose a teacher or a friend from whom he can learn. He believes that he can pick up things from experience, on his own. He is willing to accept money and other favors from people in authority but unwilling to accept consultation, instruction, warning or admonition.
He carries 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 him down, did not do what they said they would do, or were plainly not doing their job right. He is unwilling to be responsible for their own actions.
This bad boy is a "yes, but..." man. He may courteously agree that your ideas are good but then begins to point out all the hindrances one might encounter. Or he may quietly agree but then procrastinate, dawdle, forget, and finally miss out on the opportunity until it is too late. In other words, he lets life pass by default.
When the opportunity is past, he becomes morose and sullen can be impulsive, unpredictable and explosive. He then makes impulsive changes and drags his family and friends (and sometimes his church if he is a church leader) into surprising and dramatic changes. He may buy or sell property, or spend money inordinately which reveals his great impairment of judgment.
How can the church help the bad boy?
Underlying his behavior is a fear of making a mistake, trying to be perfect but knowing that he cannot. Hence, he usually doesn't follow thru with decisions. To help him find confidence, we need to develop a program of close supervision over a period of time. He needs small successes that lead to larger successes.
This man 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 his 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.