Leadership in Ministry

Leadership in Ministry (LIM) Workshops are on-going, cohort experiences to help clergy apply Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) to their ministry settings. 

The post-graduate Leadership in Ministry workshops integrates pastoral and organizational leadership with Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) as a theory of practice. Workshop participants learn how the concepts of BFST can be applied to ministry through this peer-learning, theory-based leadership program. Participants gain insight by learning with others who share their unique vocational challenges and joys.

BFST offers a way of thinking that affects every aspect of leadership in ministry. By exploring the relationships and patterns in the ministers’ three families (the minister’s own personal family (nuclear and extended) congregation member families and the congregation as a family) in each of the program’s two three-day sessions, LIM Workshops help participants reduce their own anxiety to confidently lead their congregations. Sessions focus on each of the minister’s three interlocking “families”: the ministry setting, families in the congregation, and the minister’s own family of origin.

Purposes of the Workshops

*Teach how the concepts of family emotional process can be applied to all aspects of ministry

*Explore the theological implications of these concepts

*Provide opportunities for reflection upon one’s own ministry through small group case study presentations.

*Guide and encourage participants’ work on genograms and family of origin issues.

*Provide a peer group setting for continuing education focusing upon specific ministry issues

Who Should Attend

Workshop participants have included: pastors, rabbis, other congregational staff members, interim pastors, chaplains, lay leaders, denominational workers, pastoral counselors, public school counselors and early childhood educators. Over 300 men and women from 14 denominations and 28 states and the District of Columbia have participated. Participants have received Continuing Education Units (C.E.U.’s) for both denominational and professional accrediting bodies as well as graduate credit for Doctor of Ministry and other degree programs.

Experience has shown that family systems thinking cannot be learned from a book or a single seminar. Ed Friedman’s oft-repeated statement was: “It takes years of mentoring by someone who has internalized family systems theory and intentional work in your family of origin, for this way of thinking to become your own.”

We hope you will join us for this exciting learning opportunity! Explore the links below for more information on the Leadership in Ministry Workshops.


Locations, Fees and Sample Schedule

Upcoming Leadership in Ministry Workshops

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2020 Sessions

Kansas City MO: April 13-15, 2020 and October 5-7, 2020

Lynchburg A: March 30- April 1, 2020 and October 12-14, 2020

Lynchburg B: April 20-22, 2020 and September 21-23, 2020

Boston: May 11-13, 2020 and September 28-30, 2020

Portland: May 4-6, 2020 and September 14-16, 2020



Atlanta: November 11-13, 2019 and March 9-11, 2020