Wouldn’t you want more people like this?
One of the most unusual and awkward problems that leaders face is when someone is too enthusiastic or too supportive of their ministries.
Most of us would think that this was the best possible situation for a leader to have but it actually isn’t.
Does this scene sound familiar?
It can start out in a very positive way. A person can appear to be energized or captivated by one of your ideas, plans or programs. They volunteer to help or lead it and dive into the details of implementation. So far so good. It makes you feel like a very effective visionary leader.
They seem to have endless energy to implement your vision. They just can’t stop working on it. Family or personal tasks are put aside so they can be at the church advancing the project. They seem to be flooded with initially good ideas to make the project better. Then the ideas seem to deviate from your original vision. When you express gentle correction they get irritable and wonder if you don’t appreciate their support.
You are called frequently and at home as the person comes up with more ideas and questions. You notice that they are talking louder and faster and they are acting more independently, presuming to know in advance what you would want to do. They don’t need as much sleep as they get more involved with the new vision.
At church they become bossy and arrogant boasting about their special relationship with you and how indispensable they have become to the church. They may also become super spiritual, claiming to have special revelation and insight.
Now you are concerned
Something just isn’t right. They just can’t seem to calm down and work at a normal pace. If you try to correct them they bristle. They may even try to take over the project and push you aside.
These are signs of hypomania. It’s a type of mood swing which is the opposite of depression. When this happens a person’s mind races and they can’t shut off positive thoughts that make them feel pumped and driven. It also gives them too much energy, makes them impatient, irritable, impulsive and arrogant. They don’t need much sleep and they talk loud and fast. They are prone to overspending and may even becoming flirty.
If you see these warning signs you need to take immediate action to prevent an ugly scene. First you need to learn about hypomania which is a type of bipolar mood disorder. You can find out how mood disorders affect Christians in my book Emotionally Free or the DVD’s Depression or Moods.
These people need to see a doctor before the swing gets worse or they crash into depression. It’s not easy to convince a person in this elevated mood that they need help. The tactic that worked for me was to point out that it’s not healthy to go on so little sleep so they should see a doctor to get some help with that. You may even have the opportunity to share the DVD’s with them so they could see themselves and recognize their need for help.
Bipolar disorder is very treatable with good outcomes. If left untreated a hypomanic person can change from your biggest supporter to worst enemy. If you see any of these warning signs, use our materials to get informed and know what to do.
Leadership Q & A
- What is the best church growth strategy?
- Are you burning out?
- Is suicide the unpardonable sin?
- Can a person be too supportive of your ministry?
- Are you afraid of psychiatry?
- What is the unpardonable sin?
- Is fear a sin?
- Is counselling your gift?
- What is the key question to ask?
- Does depression have spiritual symptoms?
- Is your church “seeker friendly?”