Control FreaksHow to Recognize Them and Deal with Them

By Lou Gutheil

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled the length and breadth of North America and to have visited and ministered in hundreds of churches. Almost without exception, I have witnessed a common thread running through them all. I wish I could say that it was holiness or Christlikeness, but it’s not. I can’t prove that this is statistically true, but it is my experience that every church has at least one control freak, and some churches seem to be especially blessed.

Control freaks try to control everything that everyone else is doing, making them about as irritating as woolen underwear. What really concerns me is the seeming proliferation of control freaks in recent years. We’ve got so many of ’em, we don’t know what to do with ’em. You know these people. They are experts on everything from money (the church’s) to marriage (yours). Their favorite word is “should,” and it is usually preceded by “you.” Sometimes I feel like we are caught in the conundrum aptly expressed by the aphorism, “You can’t live with them and you can’t shoot them.”