Family Systems – so much information to absorb, I’m in overload! (some might say it makes a change!) However, there’s a great deal here of benefit for any Church leader. In my own mind, I tend to operate within a framework of three dimensions which I think need to overlap in any healthy Church – our relationships with God, one another and those beyond the Church.
Personally speaking, I'm convinced I need to be working at bringing the missional dimension to be at the top of our agenda because of our present context here in the UK. However, I can’t remove the Church from the equation as some emerging Church writers would seem to suggest. Family Systems is a graphic reminder to me of the importance of health – for the Church and its leaders – and how we dare not replace one great omission with another – all three dimensions work in a healthy tension and indeed feed one another. One of the things I’m appreciating this week is the emphasis that we work first and foremost on ourselves – in fact the whole thrust of Bowen’s Family Systems Theory concerns defining who we are as individuals as opposed to setting off to sort others out as the main focus. We take responsibility for who we are and, therefore, what we can do – not what others can do. As Richard Blackburn, who’s leading the teaching this week, said today ‘Churches like over-functioning pastors, because then they don’t have to do so much.’ It reminded me of those surveys which declare, from the self-admission of Ministers, that of six key tasks they spent more time on what drained them the most (in this case administration) and the least amount of time on what energised them and their priority (in their minds at least!).