Category Archives: Bowen Family Systems Theory

Pastors, what do you do if they don’t want to follow you?

Today, I am writing you a long letter. Usually I try to keep things concise because I know how busy you are, but here’s the thing–this challenge is one of the biggest that leaders face. It’s one almost all of …

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Three ways to connect with your family at Christmas (even if you’re not going home)

Clergy families can find it difficult to connect with extended family at Christmas. We often live far from family, and we WORK Christmas Eve. Sometimes family comes to visit, and we come home after Christmas Eve services just wanting to …

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The #2 reason pastors burn out and how you can avoid it

The last time I wrote to you I outlined the #1 reason pastors burn out: overfunctioning. There’s a second reason pastors burn out, and it’s related to #1. To be honest, I’m not sure which one is first or second. …

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Posted in Bowen Family Systems Theory, Leadership, Ministry, Relationships | 2 Comments

The #1 reason pastors burn out and how you can avoid it

Burnout: the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time. (Merriam-Webster.com) Can you relate to any of that? Do you ever wonder how much longer you can keep …

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Are you feeling overwhelmed this Holy Week?

How is Holy Week going for you so far? It’s easy to wear yourself out in the run-up to Easter. I talked with a pastor last week from a tradition that has services every night of Holy Week. He said …

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Posted in Bowen Family Systems Theory, Leadership, Ministry | 8 Comments

The minimalist guide to clergy burnout

Are you exhausted? Do you feel the weight of your church? Edwin Friedman used to say, “Stress comes less from overwork than from taking responsibilities for the problems of others.” It’s the most common source of clergy burnout. It’s that …

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3 little-known tips for improving your leadership at church

Yes, you really can improve your leadership by cultivating a resource church leaders sometimes neglect: your own family. I don’t mean you neglect them because you are too busy, but you may not think of family – especially extended family …

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Warning: being nice in ministry can be a problem

Are you too nice? Being “nice” has its place – it can smooth over awkward situations. Nice people are easier to be around, and other people like them. But nice won’t take you through a whole career in ministry, and …

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Posted in Bowen Family Systems Theory, Leadership, Ministry | 14 Comments

Are you feeling left out? Three things for church leaders to remember

Sometimes pastors and church staff get left out: when the trustees meet and don’t tell you. When you walk into a room and people immediately get quiet. The classic parking lot meeting. What’s going on here? A triangle occurs when …

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6 things I learned from my father about money

We all learn how to relate to money in the families we grow up in. They not only teach us who we are, they teach us what money means. Some of those lessons are helpful, some are less so. But …

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