Oates Institute

Care of Troublesome People

Whether in the family or in the church, a free flow of information is needed for healthy relationships. When information [...]

Whether in the family or in the church, a free flow of information is needed for healthy relationships. When information is held back from one part of the system, conflict arises and troublesome people surface as leaders of subsystems. Keeping in mind this concern for openness, Dr. Wayne Oates titled his book, The Care of Troublesome People, rather than using terms such as coping or dealing with, implying the managing or manipulation of people.

Troublesome people can become confused when they perceive manipulation, cleverness, or insincerity in someone who is dealing with and coping with them. You as a pastor may perceive yourself to be cleverly finessing the person. But this leads to confusion on the part of the other person—and yourself. Consider the words of the apostle Paul: “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). The word care connotes that these people are made in the image of God and are women and men for whom Christ died.

Learn how to approach troubled and troublesome people in your congregation in ways that are not dismissive but are caring, affirming, and grounded in God’s grace. In the book, The Care of Troublesome People, Dr. Oates combines family systems theory, insightful analysis of five types of behavior that often create conflict in churches, and biblically-based approaches for dealing with such behavior in this practical guide for pastoral care givers.

Following this seminar, participants should be able to:

1. Recognize five characteristics of troublesome people and how they can affect the total system of the church.
2. Identify motivations, temptations, and reactions as the pastor or congregational lay leaders when relating to a troublesome parishioner.
3. Identify behaviors of troublesome people that can harm individuals and a congregation.
4. Discuss a biblical and ethical perspective on the characteristics of troublesome people.
5. Better understand the reasons behind the behaviors of troublesome people.
6. Empathize and give care with authenticity.

Presentation Resources  are from the book, The Care of Troublesome People.  They include The Care of the Authoritarian, Power-Ridden Person; The Care of the Competitive Divider of the Congregation; The Care of the Clinging Vine or Dependent Person; and The Care of the Star Performer.


You may participate in this seminar from wherever you are. All you need is your tablet or computer and access to the Internet. You may also participate according to your schedule. By spreading the discussion out over several weeks using a discussion forum, you may read others posts and submit your own to the conversation at times that are convenient to you.

This seminar will use the Oates Institute’s Connected Learning approach, which invites participants to reflect on their experience in light of the assigned readings and share the insights of that reflection with the group. This allows us to more fully engage with what the author and seminar facilitator share and we discover new insights about ourselves in light of our experience. Often we discover that we know more than we thought we did. Sharing our insights helps us go deeper and to also learn from the experiences of other participants. One of the exciting aspects of online seminars is that the participants are from so many other places providing us with the opportunities for learn from other regions and cultures.

Continuing Education Requirements:

As a participant in this online seminar you may earn 12 contact hours of continuing education credit by reading the resource and other presentations and participating in the discussion. Those seeking continuing education credits must contribute at least two posts per week to the discussion — one reflecting on the presentations or case studies in light of personal experience and context and a second responding to someone else’s reflection or inquiry. The evaluation form submitted at the end of the seminar serves as the CEU application. Following your submission of this form you will receive your CEU certificate.


As with all Oates Seminars, registration for this seminar is simple. Members may register for free by simply sending a quick email (from your desired email address) to registration@oates.org.  Non-members may participate with the payment of the non-member fee of $95. Be certain to include your seminar choice in “other instructions.” (Or you can send an email to registration@oates.org as well.)

You may also choose to BECOME A MEMBER! We welcome that choice as well.



Course Reviews


  • 5 stars0
  • 4 stars0
  • 3 stars0
  • 2 stars0
  • 1 stars0

No Reviews found for this course.

  • Price Options +
  • 0
  • 15 SEATS
© Oates Institute. All Rights Reserved.
Oates Institute│1733 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40205│502-459-2370│connect@oates.org