Church Conflict: A Selected Bibliography - Family Systems Theory and Leadership

Article Index
Church Conflict: A Selected Bibliography
Conflict-Related Titles
Group Facilitation and Process
Family Systems Theory and Leadership
Leadership
Mediation
Cross-Cultural Conflict
Theology For Conflict Transformation
All Pages

 Family Systems Theory and Leadership

Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin Friedman, Guildford Press, 1985
This remains the seminal book applying family systems theory to the church.  Not a light read, but worth the effort.

A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix by Edwin Friedman, Seabury Books, 2007
Published posthumously, this brilliant book brings Friedman's challenges to todays' leaders.

Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking about Human Interaction by Roberta Gilbert, Chronimed, 1992
A good introduction to family systems theory. The book encourages readers to look at the patterns of interaction in our families of origin, to improve our relationships.

How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems by Peter Steinke, Alban Institute, 1993
A useful introduction to family systems theory (or Bowen Theory) as applied to the church: helpful in understanding the emotional dynamics within a congregation.

Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach by Peter Steinke, Alban Institute, 1996
Steinke’s second book, applying family systems theory to the congregation, which focuses on the critical that role leaders play within the church.

Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What by Peter Steinke, Alban Institute, 2006
Steinke's most recent book, focussing on the leader's presence, the leader's functioning and the leader's challenges.

The Leader's Journey: Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation by Jim Herrington, Robert Creech & Trisha Taylor, Jossey-Bass, 2003
An excellent application of family systems theory for those in pastoral ministry, including some helpful grounding in the gospels and Biblical ideas.

Never Call Them Jerks: Healthy Responses to Difficult Behaviour by Arthur Paul Boers, Alban Institute, 2000
An outstanding and readable book from a Mennonite pastor that invites church leaders to a mature approach in dealing with people labelled “difficult” or worse!

Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership and Congregational Life by Ronald Richardson, Fortress Press, 1996
A helpful introduction to family systems theory for church leaders.

Becoming a Healthier Pastor: Family Systems Theory and the Pastor’s Own Family by Ronald Richardson, Fortress Press, 2005
An important application of family systems theory to the church leader’s own family.

Multiple Staff Ministries, by Kenneth Mitchell, Westminster Press, 1988. (OOP)
Useful for understanding intra-staff conflict in churches applying insights drawn from family systems theory. Highlights the importance of uncovering roles, rules and rituals.

The Equipping Pastor: A Systems Approach to Congregational Leadership by Paul Stevens and Phil Collins, Alban Institute, 1993
A practical application of a systemic approach to church leadership.

The Hidden Lives of Congregations: Discerning Church Dynamics by Israel Galindo, Alban
Institute, 2004
A recent application of family systems theory in helping to understand church dynamics.



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