Well-Intentioned Dragons


Every church has them–sincere, well-meaning Christians who leave ulcers, strained relationships, and hard feelings in their wake. They don’t intend to be difficult; they don’t consciously plot destruction or breed discontent among the members. But they often do undermine the ministry of the church and make pastors question their calling.

How do you deal with them? How do you avoid being them?

Well-Intentioned Dragons guides church leaders in facing the strenuous task of dealing with difficult people–even ministering while under attack. Based on real-life stories of battle-scarred veterans, Marshall Shelley presents a clear picture of God’s love for those on both sides of the problem. He describes tested strategies to communicate that love and turn dissidents into disciples.

Key Topics or Truths

Stressful People in Church
Leading difficult people
What difficult people look like

This Book is Good For...

This book is good for everyone, anywhere, in any church, at any time, on any planet always… we have all been this person and we have all dealt with these people. Let’s stop the madness!

How I Use this Book to make disciples

I have the disciples read this book over the course of two or three weeks, depending on how well we are making forward motion. I discuss each week’s assigned chapters in the following week’s meeting. I ask a lot of questions. I create thought vacuums. My goal is three-fold:

  • Disciple self-awareness
  • Disciples’ awareness of how other people dragon them
  • Disciples thinking deeply and connecting scripture to each chapter.

I ask disciples to not only come up with Biblical support but to connect each chapter to a real story in the Bible – to see the principles or revelation come to life in God’s history of humankind. The truth of Well-Intentioned Dragons comes to life when stories from the Bible and stories from our life are connected to Shelley’s principles.

I love this book because it really opens people’s eyes to their dragon tendencies. I know this was written for leaders on how to deal with difficult people (and, it does that well) but it is just as valuable showing the everyday Christian what to avoid in their church community life.

Real Life Story

“You know, I hear that Harriet is thinking of leaving the church. You should contact her…” Sally said as she pulled me aside on a Sunday morning right before I was getting ready to teach. If only Sally could see the flaw! If only she could connect God’s truths to her statement. There were so many things I wanted to ask like “How many people told you this? Who told you this? Are you friends with Harriet? Do you know what she did last week? Why don’t you take her to coffee and not mention this? Why are you coming to me?” I put a copy of this book in Sally’s hands, told her I loved her and invited her to talk over coffee after she read the book. The change was amazing. She apologized. I told her not to apologize. She had taken Harriet out to dinner just to be friends. She went back to the “people” who talk to her and talked to them about idle talk. Sally was never the same.

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Marshall Shelley
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Two Weeks?
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