When the Honeymoon is Over

When the Honeymoon is Over

April 8, 2019—Beginning a ministry at a new church is an exciting experience. New challenges, a fresh start, promising possibilities, new relationships, can all be energizing. For most clergy, the first year at a new church is filled with excitement…

Four Proven Strategies to Prevent Leadership Failure

March 25, 2019—Leadership is, arguably, an organization’s greatest asset; even in congregations. As much as we desire to believe otherwise, congregations tend to make little progress in terms of mission, new initiatives, new programs, outreach, or organizational health in the…

Ten Leadership Quotes from Edwin Friedman

March 11, 2019—Few have helped re-frame the understanding of leadership in organizations within this generation as has Edwin Friedman. Expanding Bowen Family Systems Theory from its clinical therapeutic context to the contexts of religious institutions and organizations, Friedman’s writings have…

Ten Toxic Leadership Types

February 25, 2019—The measure of successful leadership is how well a group performs, over time, in terms of valued outcomes, or the realization of its mission. Benjamin J. Inyang considers leadership as process which “involves the use of non-coercive influence…

Why Leaders Fail

February 11, 2019—Decades of leadership studies have produced well over 50,000 books with ‘leadership’ in their title but almost none on leadership failure. Adrian Furman called this “the elephant in the boardroom.”(1) Furnham noted that “more leaders fail and derail…

Your Congregation Is Not Your Family

January 7, 2019—The fact is that, despite the warm metaphor we commonly use, a congregation is not a family. A congregation is a localized, institutionalized expression of a larger social system: the organized religious system.1 The relationship clergy have with…

Effective Leaders Focus on Process

December 31, 2018—Effective congregational leaders know the difference between content and process—and they focus on process rather than content. Content has to do with what people say, while process has to do with how people function. Beliefs, doctrines, mission statements,…

A Leader’s Responsibility

December 17, 2018—One major trap for clergy leaders is the demand for them to take responsibility for things that rightly are not theirs. This is exacerbated by the propensity of pastors to accept that demand. After all, they are in…

Why Bowen Theory is Useless

November 12, 2018—Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST), or “Bowen Theory,” continues to grow in its interest to, and influence among, clergy, denominational leaders, and seminaries. I think this is a good thing, overall. Many have found in BFST a frame…

Why I Do This Work Called Bowen Theory

October 29, 2018—I learned about Bowen Theory in seminary and following it through the pastor with whom I served and several ministers who “practiced” the theory and participated in workshops called Leadership in Ministry (LIM). While in seminary, my professors…

Like a First Born

October 15, 2018—A fellow Bowen Theory colleague recently told me, “You’re thinking about this like a first born,” which was completely correct. In that given situation, I had made a list of what needed to be done, gathered information, analyzed…

The “Window of Tolerance”: A Tool For Self-Regulation

October 1, 2018—Psychiatrist Dan Siegel developed a model called the “Window of Tolerance” in 1999 to describe an area in which each person is able to maintain emotional regulation, think clearly, and function effectively. Each person has their own window…

When We Can’t Take Our Own Advice

September 17, 2018—We’ve all done it; we have all recommended that a church member, client, or patient take advice that we ourselves find hard to follow. We advise them to establish healthy boundaries with family members, to maintain self-care plans,…

15 Most Common Anxiety Triggers in Congregations

August 27, 2018—It’s no secret that congregations experience times of anxiety. Those periods of acute anxiety can be triggered by any number of events, conditions, or situations. Here are the 15 most common anxiety triggers in a congregation (in no…

Maybe the Problem is With You

July 30, 2018—Have you ever heard a pastor say, “Why is it that no matter what church I go to I always end up with the same bunch of @&#* idiots?!” If you’ve had a string of dysfunctional churches, the…

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