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Leadership and Anxiety in the Church

September 26, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Leadership and Anxiety in the Church: A Family Systems Perspective (September 26, 2018, Richmond, VA)


The seminar on Leadership and Anxiety in the Church looks at the challenge presented by the rising levels of anxiety being experienced in churches today, as well as the role that self-differentiated leadership can play in calming such anxiety.  Since the publication of Dr. Edwin Friedman’s Generation to Generation, many pastors and other church leaders have become aware of Bowen family systems theory as a way of understanding congregational dynamics. Family systems theory identifies differentiation of self and anxiety as two key variables impacting human functioning.

The seminar is comprised of a series of PowerPoint presentations originally conceived for LMPC’s Advanced Clergy Clinic in Family Emotional Process. Works of art illustrating Biblical themes from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras are integrated at various points to facilitate theological reflection on the themes being presented.

Workshop Schedule
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

9:00-10:15   The Road to Damascus: The Church and Change in an Age of Anxiety

  • Anxiety in Action: A Congregational Case Study
  • Linear Cause-Effect Thinking vs. Systems Thinking
  • Distinguishing Between Acute Anxiety and Chronic Anxiety
  • Understanding the Roots of Anxiety
  • Societal Anxiety: Its Impact on the Church

10:15-10:30   Break

10:30-12:00   “They Know Not What They Do”:  The Scapegoat Mechanism and Church Conflict

  • The Scapegoating Process in Church Systems: Case Studies
  • The Family Projection Process in Bowen Theory
  • The Scapegoat Mechanism in the Work of René Girard
  • Reflections on Christ’s Passion in Art: Exposing the Scapegoat Mechanism to the Light

12:00-1:00   Lunch (on-site, included in registration)

1:00-2:30   The Importance of Not Being Earnest:  Reversals, Playfulness, and Paradox

  • Understanding Triangles and the Importance of Maintaining a Non-Anxious Presence
  • Murray Bowen and Edwin Friedman on Reversals, Playfulness, and Paradox: Video Clips of the Masters at Work

2:30-2:45   Break

2:45-4:00   The Road to Damascus: Lessons for Leadership in Anxious Times

  • The Conversion of Paul in Art: Learning from Paul’s Experience with Radical Change
  • Self-Differentiated Leadership: A Key to Overcoming the Impact of Anxiety

First Mennonite Church
601 East Parham Rd, Richmond, VA

Registration Fee
The preregistration fee is $89.00. If received after September 12, 2018 the fee is $99.00. For those who register after September 19, 2018, or at the door, the fee is $109.00. Fee includes training manual, lunch, and refreshment breaks. Cancellation Policy: All refunds subject to approval. Please contact LMPC at 630-627-0507.


September 26, 2018
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
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