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 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.
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