Over the years I have collected articles, books, sayings, and other inspirational material that are related to the concept of healthy congregations. Beginning with Murray Bowen’s groundbreaking work in Family Systems Theory followed by Bowen’s protégé Ed Friedman and his classic book, Generation to Generation, the study of healthy churches has been critical to the life of congregations that no longer want to be stuck in unhealthy patterns of relationships based upon the past. Peter Steinke has also contributed greatly to the discipline of healthy churches with his books, Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach; How Your Church Family Works; and Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times. Not only have authors and researchers explored and developed the Family Systems Theory, but also local church pastors such as Peter Scazzero have put the theory into practical application. In his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church, he describes how dealing with a dysfunctional church combined with his own personal brokenness created dysfunctional relationships with his wife and others. Scazzero discovered that there are ways to live a healthy life that translates into leading churches into healthier patterns. As Scazzero said, “As goes the leader, so goes the church.”
During the course of this year I will be writing about what makes for healthy families and a healthy church family that supports our vision of “Strengthening Families for Life.” I invite you to respond with your own thoughts and experiences of healthy families and congregations so that we may learn and grow together. If you are interested in doing your own reading and research you can check out the resources above. You can also “google” Family System Theory or healthy congregations and find a wealth of materials. I look forward to taking this journey with you this year.