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

ISBN: 9780800629557
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In this volume, 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.
  • Guidelines for how to behave in the midst of upsetting and conflict circumstances
  • Personal steps that leaders in the church can take to become more positive forces for healing and cooperation.
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Top Highlights

“A primary skill for learning about how to deal with your congregational emotional system is the ability to be a good observer. Observation requires stepping outside of our own subjective responses to what we ‘feel’ is happening, and learning to watch what is actually going on: who is doing what, when, where, and how.” (Pages 36–37)

“The same person, in two different contexts, or systems, has two different ways of reacting in emotional situations” (Page 26)

“We all know that in marriages that are going badly, it is rarely just one person’s fault; both people have a part to play in the problems. The same thing is true in congregations. All of the members, and especially the leaders of a church, contribute to whether things go in a more positive or negative direction.” (Page 20)

“However, it is the emotional system that is the most difficult to detect and to understand, let alone to try to change” (Page 29)

“In biblical language, emotional maturity is best described by the word wisdom” (Page 80)

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

Ron Richardson has given us an interesting and informative book about creating a healthy church. This is an important book for pastors and congregations. He 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.

—James C. Wurtzen, Director, The Blanto-Peale Graduate Institute

  • Title: Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life
  • Author: Ronald W. Richardson
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 1996
  • Pages: 184

Ronald W. Richardson is former clinical director of the North Shore Counseling Center, pastoral counselor, author of many books on family systems theory, and is currently a retired pastor living in West Vancouver, BC, Canada. Richardson attended UCLA where he received his BA in English Literature in 1962. He then went on to Princeton Theological Seminary and received his MD in Biblical Studies in 1966. Later, he finished his studies at Colgate/Rochester Divinity School receiving his Doctorate in 1976. Richardson is author of Family Ties That Bind: A Self-Help Guide to Change through Family of Origin Therapy, Birth Order and You: How Your Sex and Position in the Family Affect Your Personality and Relationships, and Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life.


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Digital list price: $12.99
Save $3.00 (23%)