1. First, many of the best leaders leave (and the leader finds a way to spin their departure).
2. Second, the leaders that stay take on the unhealthy characteristics of the organization, becoming part of the problem (even though they often bemoan the attributes of the leader). In a sense, we reproduce who we are– creating “mini-me” personalities of the leader.
Yet, that is what the unhealthy leader wants– no one to disagree or give another idea. So, in all likelihood, your best scenario is to leave.
If you believe you need to leave, start praying and looking for another ministry opportunity. This recognition of a different future will likely ease the daily pain and struggle, and help you to face each day. When you know you are going to leave, you can deal with staying a lot easier– and I know this from personal experience. When I have been in unhealthy situations, once I decided I was going to leave I did not worry so much about what was going on around me. Either way, trust your future to Christ and he gives peace that passes all understanding.
However, the reality is, in some cases you may need to stay. If that is the case, and if you believe God wants you to stay, I’d suggest these attitudes:
1. Don’t be afraid. Fear makes you cower rather than live in courage. Recognize you are in an unhealthy organization, but don’t become an unhealthy servant. I assure you, this will make you stand out (and people will say bad things), but don’t be a coward for any reason.
2. Make a difference. When I served in unhealthy places, I simply asked, “What can I do here, now?” And when you are not scurrying about in fear, you can get much done for the kingdom. I was able to encourage a lot of people– often those living in the same toxic culture.