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Systems in Ministry

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“Clergy and church workers are often facing difficult relationships at home and in their organisation, challenges in dealing with difficult people, no way of thinking about the congregation as a system and no guidelines for thinking oneself out of emotional intensities that arise in the congregation.” R Gilbert MD. “The Cornerstone Concept.”

Using Bowen family systems thinking to navigate relationship challenges in -

  • Pastoral care
  • Congregations and pastoral community
  • Ministry teams.
  • Leadership

Bowen systems theory has been used over a number of decades to assist clergy and rabbis to maintain their ministry vision in the face of complicated, anxious, relationship disruptions. The work of Rabbi Ed Friedman (From Generation to Generation), Roberta Gilbert http://www.hsystems.org/ , Dr Robert Creech (The leaders Journey) and others has been influential in developing these application of Bowen’s scientific theory of human relational patterns.

In particular the concepts of the scale of Differentiation of Self, Relationship triangles, Over and Under-functioning reciprocity, Fusion and Cut-off, have provided fresh perspective on the common impasses that occur both in families and any group of people that regularly interact.

Services offered -

  • Individual & Small Group Supervision – providing coaching in applying systems thinking to ministry work.
  • Family of Origin coaching – Assisting ministry workers to understand patterns of relating from the generations of their family and to explore ways of improving responsible relating with significant others.
  • Assessment services for applications for ministry/mission positions. Using the Differentiation of Self Inventory measures and family of origin exploration to assess relational styles, relational strengths and vulnerabilities and indications of relational maturity.
  • Systems training for ministry teams. This can be tailored to the needs of each organisation
  • Plans to begin a Certificates program in systems in ministry. This will be a 3 year flexible program similar to our general Certificate Program but with specific application to church/ministry situations.

This program is co-ordinated by Jenny Brown and Karen Larkins (co-trainers to be confirmed). Services are provided by experienced consultants who have substantial systems training and who are actively involved in a church community. The program is available to any denomination or ministry organisation.

 

 



Systems in Ministry Symposium

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Systems in Ministry Symposium

Applying Bowen Systems Theory to Ministry Contexts

Date: Thursday 20th November, 2014


Dates: 20th & 21st of November, 2014 // Venue: TBA


Guest presenter: Jim Herrington 

Team leader for Mission Houston and Faithwalking. Jim is the co-author of two texts - Leading Congregational Change and The Leaders Journey. Jim's up-coming new book (in press) entitled, No Quick Fixes: Hopeful Stories of Unlearning Church, co- written with Trisha Taylor.

We are planning an inaugural Systems in Ministry symposium for November this year. Jim Herington will open each day  with examples of applying Bowen theory in ministry. This will be followed by varied presentations of use of Bowen theory in the life of clergy and church organisations/congregations..

Call for Abstracts: We are keen to hear from any in ministry/faith organisations who would like to present a paper on their work in applying Bowen theory. Some have done research in this area; others have had more personal projects such as work on understanding the influence of family of origin on ministry style.
Abstracts need to have a title, 150 word description of presentation, and short bio of presenter.

Deadline for abstracts: July 4th. Send to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Abstract presenters will still need to register for this event. They will receive free MP3s of the presentations.

Cost of the 2 days: $330 (incl GST). Attendance for 1 day $176
*A Thursday early evening reception will be held to allow for further networking and discussions of the day’s input


 

Exploring Systems in Ministry & in the Family

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Exploring Systems in Ministry and in the Family

Reflective Practice & Research Series 2013

"People frequently point to communication as a problem, because it's easy to notice, but usually it is a symptom of an underlying problem with a relationship posture." (Roberta Gilbert, Extraordinary Relationships)

"Our development and experience within our family of origin is a major but usually hidden component of how we function emotionally within our congregations as pastors." (Ronald Richardson, Becoming a Healthier Pastor)

Group objective:

The focus of this group will be on a Bowen theory application to both workplace dynamics and one’s family of origin. Guided by pre-readings, participants will discuss theory as it relates to thinking systems about the organisations to which they consult. To enhance their learning from this perspective, participants can choose to disclose intergenerational family information that they think will comfortably assist them to better understand and utilise a systems framework in their life and work. Guided by Dr Murray Bowen's natural systems theory, awareness of how one is “wired” through one's family of origin experience creates the opportunity for more thoughtful encounters with difficulties and stressors that pull consultants  particularly into “fix it” roles that more often diminish rather than enhance leadership, team and individual team member performance.

Group size and times: 

We will meet as a closed group 3-4 participants for 3 sessions over 3 months.  Participants are required to make a commitment to attend all of the sessions.

Dates: 5 September; 10 October; 7 November, 2013 

Time:  10.30am-12pm

Group Format: 

At the first session, the trainer will present a brief overview a challenge she has met in her own consultancy work and how this reflects her understanding of Bowen theory and its relation to the dynamics of her own family of origin. Participants will then each present a current workplace dilemma using the pre-readings to guide their thinking and curiosity about their own family dynamics to reflect on workplace and consultancy challenges.

At subsequent meetings participants will have an opportunity to present more of their research observations about their work and their families. Each participant will receive feedback and reflections from the trainer to assist with further efforts to understand their workplace systems in the light of their reflections about their families and themselves.

About the Trainer: 

Karen Larkins provides clincal, supervision and training services in the Family Systems Institute's Systems in Ministry program. (In collaboration with Jenny Brown).  Karen provides counselling for those who wish to integrate family systems coaching with their faith principles.  As a professional who is actively involved in her church community, she is interested in assisting those in church organisations to think through relationship dilemmas in their ministry roles.  (Individual and group supervision of practice and/or coaching in understanding family of origin).

Click here to Register Online 

 

The Congregation as an Interactional System

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1 Day Workshop

The Congregation as an Interactional System

Thursday May 16, 2013 

This interactive workshop will explore what Bowen family systems theory has to say about the relationship processes that are the backdrop for gospel ministry.  For any working or training in ministry/pastoral care who are keen to explore how this theory applies to managing self in the midst of relationship challenges in congregations/pastoral community and in ministry teams.

“Bowen’s ‘family systems’ approach encourages people to take responsibility for themselves while observing the emotional processes around them. Outside of the teaching of the Scriptures, I have found Family Systems to be the single most helpful resource in understanding parish life and in navigating change.  In coaching I put it to use almost every week.” Ken Morgan

The learning objectives are that participants would be able to – 

  • Recognise emotional process at work in their congregations and especially in their leadership teams.
  • Recognise their own and other’s responses to systems anxiety.
  • Be thoughtful about the emotional & relationship processes they observe
  • Make thoughtful and well differentiated responses to the emotional processes at work in their congregations 

“When tension mounts at work or in any relationship system, there are those who react to the tension with lowered energy levels and those, like myself, who react with increased energy. It’s easy to think that the increased energy is a positive thing, but because it’s driven by anxiety it gets directed in unhelpful ways which get in the way of others working well.”

Jenny Brown . Growing Yourself Up P135

The content aims to assist participants to :-

  • Understand  predicable system responses to change
  • Understand emotional process in congregations – how it works and its effects
  • Understand concepts of Bowen theory that will be helpful to understanding relationship phenomena,  such as : - 

Triangles - understanding the triangling tendency when their is tension, To see how the congregation operates as a network of triangles

The togetherness forces and herding patterns - mature unity Vs reactive unity

The continuum of relational maturity (Differentiation of Self)

Seeing reciprocity in interactions – the over and underfunctioner.

Homeostasis and disruptions to systems equilibrium- Predicable reactions when it is disrupted

Family of origin influence on automatic functioning

Regression in society and organisations 

Plus Pre workshop evening event at the FSI in Neutral Bay –

A Dialogue Evening - applying systems theory to ministry contexts - Ken and Jenny will discuss their experience of applying Bowen systems theory to assisting clergy and church workers.

Wednesday PM - 15th May - Dialogue - 6:30-7:30 followed by Q & A & supper to 8pm.  Cost - $22.00

Trainers

jenny-portrait-smallerJenny Brown is the Director and founder of the Family Systems Institute in Sydney.  She has been counselling individuals, couples and families since the early 80s and has substantial post graduate qualifications from Australia, USA and UK.  She is well regarded in Australia for her training in Murray Bowen's Family Systems Theory and has been dedicated to developing the application of this model in clinical practice and training and church ministry organisations since the early 1990s. Jenny’s is currently PhD candidate at the University of NSW .  She has recently had her first book published: “Growing Yourself Up” which aims to make Bowen theory accessible to the lay audience.  

Jenny is married with 2 adult daughters and is delighted to have recently become a grandmother. She has had a lifelong involvement in church and is interested in critiquing her professional work though a biblical lens.  

ken mugshotcroppedKen Morgan is the Coordinator – Vision and Strategic Directions for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, specialising in leadership and organisational dynamics with an emphasis on mission.  Ken works with a framework of change as a learning experience, and brings together disciplines from the fields of coaching, process consulting and adult learning. 

Prior to joining the diocese of Melbourne, Ken served in variety of leadership roles in mission agencies and local churches.  He’s also consulted to some of Australia’s major denominations, ministry colleges and Christian not-for-profit organisations. A graduate of Tabor College in Melbourne, Ken also holds a Masters Degree in Business from Victoria University.

He’s married to Janet and has two teenage daughters. 

Time: 9:00-4:30

Date: Thursday 16th May, 2013

Cost: $275.00

Workshop Location: “Palapa” Hall – Concord Baptist Church – 1-3 Carrington Street, Nth Strathfield

Transport: North Strathfield Station & good street parking available

** Morning tea , light lunch ,afternoon tea and participants manual  provided

*** If on a limited income as a student or mission organization please phone about a discounted registration.

 

Click here to Register Online 

 

Pre workshop dialogue evening

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 Pre workshop evening event at the FSI in Neutral Bay –

A Dialogue Evening - applying systems theory to ministry contexts - Ken and Jenny will discuss their experience of applying Bowen systems theory to assisting clergy and church workers.

Wednesday PM - 15th May - Dialogue - 6:30-7:30 followed by Q & A & supper to 8pm.  Cost - $22.00

Trainers

jenny-portrait-smallerJenny Brown is the Director and founder of the Family Systems Institute in Sydney.  She has been counselling individuals, couples and families since the early 80s and has substantial post graduate qualifications from Australia, USA and UK.  She is well regarded in Australia for her training in Murray Bowen's Family Systems Theory and has been dedicated to developing the application of this model in clinical practice and training and church ministry organisations since the early 1990s. Jenny’s is currently PhD candidate at the University of NSW .  She has recently had her first book published: “Growing Yourself Up” which aims to make Bowen theory accessible to the lay audience.  

Jenny is married with 2 adult daughters and is delighted to have recently become a grandmother. She has had a lifelong involvement in church and is interested in critiquing her professional work though a biblical lens.  

ken mugshotcroppedKen Morgan is the Coordinator – Vision and Strategic Directions for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, specialising in leadership and organisational dynamics with an emphasis on mission.  Ken works with a framework of change as a learning experience, and brings together disciplines from the fields of coaching, process consulting and adult learning. 

Prior to joining the diocese of Melbourne, Ken served in variety of leadership roles in mission agencies and local churches.  He’s also consulted to some of Australia’s major denominations, ministry colleges and Christian not-for-profit organisations. A graduate of Tabor College in Melbourne, Ken also holds a Masters Degree in Business from Victoria University.

He’s married to Janet and has two teenage daughters. 

 
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Upcoming Events

26-Aug-2014 Training (Sydney) 2014 Family of Origin Group, Grosvenor Cottage (FSI Office), Neutral Bay
11-Sep-2014 Training (Sydney) 2014 Introduction to Bowen Family Systems Theory., Grosvenor Cottage (FSI Office), Neutral Bay
14-Oct-2014 Training (Sydney) 2014 Questions that Explore the Systems Process, Grosvenor Cottage (FSI Office), Neutral Bay
20-Nov-2014 Systems in Ministry (Workshops) Systems in Ministry Symposium, St Marks Hall, Sydney
24-Nov-2014 Systems in Ministry (Workshops) Melbourne Workshop: Growing Relationship Maturity in Ministry Recognising your Reactivity to Anxiety, RAFT Church, Melbourne