7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach (Paperback)
Steinke, Peter L., Healthy Congregations, Hearndon, Virginia, The Alban Institute, 1996.
Healthy Congregations is an engaging book. The author focuses on the similarities between the physical body and how it functions and the body of Christ and how it functions in relationship systems. Steinke states, "We relate to one another in the ways biological cells respond to one another." In other words, all parts interact and impact each other.
Steinke is concerned with establishing and defining what is responsible and enlightened behavior and how this healthy way of interrelating is the key to good health in a congregation. He sets out to identify those interactions which most empower health and those interactions which most enable the disease process. He concludes that health happens when people take personal responsibility for their own actions and behaviors, as well as for their own health.
His chapter entitled "Infectious Anxiety" is an excellent overview of gossiping, whispering, blaming, faultfinding and triangulation. He states that, "Secrets support immaturity. Underground murmurers in a community are usually insecure, dependent and childish people" (59). He goes on to declare that the leader who remains silent about these behaviors, in essence, enables it. He concludes that, "A healthy congregation is one that actively and responsibly addresses or heals its disturbances, not one with an absence of troubles" (10).
Review the discussion questions at the end of each chapter as they are the practical application of his content. The author had fun writing this book. He gets his message across by way of his analogous insight into the physical body as it parallels with the body of Christ.