# 5 – Mr Rhino

Every leader will relate to the ‘Rhino’! Dan Holland continues his occasional series …….


No matter how conciliatory and supportive we may be with a ‘rhino’, he will turn and charge with lowered horn at the slightest correction or perceived sleight. Rhino doesn’t care who is gored on his way to the target, and always assumes his aggression is completely justified. Rhino often has a following of people he has brought round to his view of the world. If he smells the whiff of fear he’ll keep charging until he gets everything his own way. Some pastors never recover from a ‘rhino’ charge.

Rhino has decided it’s time to get all his cards on the table with pastor Ostrich, no more ‘softly, softly’. Pastor Ostrich has stopped replying to Rhino’s daily emails and texts, and avoids him on Sundays. Enough is enough, no more procrastinating, Rhino has called for a meeting. Failing that, he will simply turn up at the manse and refuse to leave until he has been given an audience.


Ostrich finds Rhino utterly exhausting, to put it mildly, and at times a blatant bully. He is unsatisfied and un-satisfiable in criticism of everything Ostrich says and does. And he is getting bolder in his complaints! He draws a crowd of discontented Christians around him who go quiet when Ostrich, and especially his wife Owl, walk nearby. Those who don’t like to be rail-roaded, and who have opinions of their own, tend to avoid Rhino like the plague, but there is simply no-one in the church willing to confront him. Rhino has been tolerated for too long and his domination is being consolidated. Only Owl really has him ‘sussed out’, and he finds her strangely unnerving.


Rhino senses that Ostrich is weak and about to capitulate. There’s something undeniably enjoyable about this situation for him, even if he wouldn’t admit it. The unspoken power he exerts over Ostrich is somewhat addictive. In reality, Rhino doesn’t precisely know what Ostrich would have to do to placate him. Rhino’s insistence on how ‘the church extension’ is undertaken is less about particulars – and more about power. Rhino likes nothing more than to get his own way, and unequivocally so. He’s not above exerting spiritual manipulation while he’s at it. Most of his pronouncements about the building project are prefixed with “God told me”! He is utterly convinced that God agrees with him about everything. How to move forward ……. ?


Dan Holland is a UK missionary with Through Faith Missions (‘TFM’). He wrote “Through the Tunnel – Free at Last” published by PUSH Publishing, as his personal testimony.

Recently Dan has produced two short books – “Caring for the New Christian” and “Growing as a New Christian” (for local fellowships, and for the new ‘convert’, respectively). Links here:



The above article, and any that follow, are based on characters highlighted in both books.