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Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What Paperback – November 20, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What
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  • Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is the book you’ll want on your shelf and will want to read carefully and digest if you hope to master a rudimentary understanding of the way family systems theory addresses leadership in a congregation. (New England Lutheran Theological Forum)

Dr. Steinke once again illuminates the path towards healthier, more effective church leadership. He consistently provides deep wisdom that is both relevant and transformative. (James Boyer, pastoral psychotherapist and organizational consultant)

A faithful book, full of insight and illustration. (Rick Foss, Bishop, Eastern North Dakota Synod, ELCA)

In his first two books, Peter Steinke effectively offered the lens of family systems through which to see congregational life. In this new book, he continues his tradition of wit, clarity, and insight while moving to a new level of depth and artistry. (W. Craig Gilliam, Director, The Center for Pastoral Effectiveness, The Louisiana Annual Conference of the UMC)

About the Author

Peter L. Steinke is an internationally respected congregational systems consultant who has also served as a parish pastor, an eduator, and a therapist for clergy. He is the author of the best-selling books How Your Church Family Works and Healthy Congregations.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (November 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566993288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566993289
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Steinke's book saved my life and probably that of the church I pastor. His analysis of leading through crisis was invaluable to me as I found the need to confront a wayward but dynamic staff member and eventually persuade the personnel committee to be the leaders they really want to be. After 3 1/2 years of ignoring others' attempts to hold her accountable, change is finally accomplished. I knew what had to be done, but Steinke's wonderful analysis of such situations made it clearer and more defensible. It's not over yet, but the anxiety has been removed for the most part, and now we have a chance to be the Church of Jesus Christ, a church of honesty and integrity.

Will also be helpful to leaders in all kinds of organizations.
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Steinke enables readers to quickly get a 50,000-feet view of what happens when challenging events occur in churches. This perspective enables leaders to properly analyze the problem and have confidence and emotional strength to implement solutions.

For example, understanding that people are usually more interested in relieving their own anxiety rather than managing the crisis is a key factor in the strategy a leader uses in a crisis. By focusing on relieving anxiety, a leader can more quickly get to the heart of the issue and ignore the static (e.g. blaming, criticizing, taking offense, desire for instant solutions, avoiding responsibility) that anxiety causes.

The solution is for a leader to use calm, reflective, and principled action toward working through the problems. He responds rather than reacts. He changes the conflict from a win/lose situation to a learning situation so that both groups can focus on solving the problem rather than wining. The effects of this thoughtful approach will permeate the whole organization and offset the negative effects caused by those who are controlled by anxiety.

If you would like help in analyzing and solving conflicts in churches, this book is for you. It will give you the theoretical and practical help that you are looking for.
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Format: Paperback
Peter Steinke, ELCA pastor, author, scholar, and church consultant is currently the leading researcher in Bowen Family Systems theory. This latest book, "Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times," is written for pastors and other congregational leaders with the hope that the information contained with both enlighten and embolden them (xi). The brief book (175 pages) is divided into three sections: "The Leader's Presence," "The Leader's Functioning," and "The Leader's Challenges."

While this present book provides little new information per se on applying the Bowen Theory to religious leadership, the information is presented in an interesting, enlightening way. Steinke's style of writing is simple without being simplistic. He breaks information down into small, easily-digestible parts...yet never comes across as "talking down" to the reader.

Bowen Theory places a great deal of emphasis on strong, independent-minded-yet-connected leaders. The trick (according to Rev. Rick Foss in the foreword) is to practice excellent leadership consistently. Steinke draws upon his vast experience as a church consultant and researcher to provide examples of a leader's effect on a congregation (positive and negative), pitfalls, and the complex emotional process that can help or hinder leadership.

This book would be ideal for congregational leaders (ordained, contracted, or elected) as both a work of inspiration and a launching point for more research in the leadership genre. Indeed, this book's main contribution is that it provides and easy entry-point into the Family Systems Theory.

While it is recommended for those without much experience in Bowen Theory, those who have digested the works of Ed Friedman may not find much new...even through they might find much to inspire.
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Format: Paperback
Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue

I am an evangelically-minded United Methodist pastor working on my Doctor of Ministry at Asbury Theological Seminary. It was through this program that I encountered this book. As I read it, I had an "Aha!" moment on every page. Repeatedly, I found myself saying, "Now I understand why this happened...why s/he said this...why I felt that..."

Steinke has specialized in making the Family Systems theory of Murray Bowen, as taught by his personal mentor Edwin Friedman, accessible to and practical for Christian leaders and congregations. He accomplishes this task exceedingly well, not only in this book, but in "Healthy Congregations" and "How Your Church Family Works." I heartily recommend any of these three books to any congregational leader (lay or clergy) who wants to understand the emotional dynamics that drive the anxiety, tension, and conflict in so many congregations.

Steinke's (and Bowen's and Friedman's) advice to leaders could be summarized in three simple statements: 1- Regulate your anxiety; 2- Define or differentiate yourself in terms of values and beliefs; 3- Stay in touch with the people in the midst of their issues. These are simple to say, but not so simple to DO. You will have to read the book(s) to gain a full understanding of what these statements mean. And you will spend the rest of your life learning how to do them. They are not "quick fixes." If you're looking for "quick fixes," don't read this book. But if you're looking for long-term health and solutions that last, then pick up this book and/or Steinke's other two mentioned above.
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