Augsburg Fortress

Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life

Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life

Ronald W. Richardson helps us to understand how congregations function emotionally. Without being simplistic, he gives clear directions on how to improve their quality of life together and function more effectively in achieving mission goals. This book offers:
  • A theory about human behavior that will aid understanding of how things can get out of control in the human community of the church;
  • A practical set of leadership ideas and behaviors;
  • Guidelines for how to behave in the midst of upsetting and conflictual circumstances;
  • Personal steps that leaders in the church can take to become more positive forces for healing and cooperation.
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800629557
  • eBook ISBN 9781451417777
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 184
  • Publication Date August 19, 1996


"Every congregation that has struggled to maintain a balance between individuality and togetherness, closeness and distance, unity and difference, and every leader who has determined to stay out of the emotional muddles of congregational life will find help in this book."
—Herbert Anderson, professor emeritus, Catholic Theological Union

"This is an important book for pastor and congregations. Richardson has framed the book in a way that lends itself to discussion, and through questions at the end of the chapters, guides those reading or discussing the material to in-depth examination."
—Jim Wyrtzen, former president, Osher Institute

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: When Bad Things Happen in Good Churches
2. The Congregation: More Than Meets the Eye
3. What Unbalances the System?
4. Being One among Many
5. Closeness, Distance, and the Congregation
6. Foolishness and Wisdom in Church Leadership
7. Reactivity Is More than Reacting
8. The Four Functional Styles of Congregational Life
9. Triangles in the Congregation
10. Signs of Serious Problems in the Church
11. Birth Order and Leadership Style
12. Assessing Your Congregation's Emotional System
13. Becoming a Better Leader