The first edition of How Your Church Family Works was written nearly thirty years ago, and the reach and velocity of change in the last three decades poses a new challenge for churches. Thirty years ago, churches functioned in a fairly stable environment and focused on growth an expansion. The tide has turned now, though, and supplanted increase with decline. Bowen family systems theory—on which How Your Church Family Works is based—has not changed, but its application has to be revised for the twenty-first century. How Your 21st-Century Church Family Works, the second edition of Peter Steinke’s landmark book, addresses the radically altered landscape of church sustainability with new introductory and concluding chapters bookending updates throughout the now-classic text. Core chapters of the book feature fresh examples of emotional process that are more exemplary of the current scene. One key addition is a new trigger of anxiety for churches—the change process. Change threatens the familiar and stable and suffers from negative connotations of endangering tradition. Where gradual change has been the norm for so long, churches now see a blistering pace of disruptions, some of which have forced change too early or too late, or sometimes in unproductive directions. How Your 21st-Century Church family works embraces the anxiety caused by change, transforming it from a source of anguish to a font of opportunity.
Peter L. Steinke was an internationally recognized leadership consultant who served as a parish pastor, therapist, director of a counseling center, educator, and executive director of Healthy Congregations. He is the author of several books, including Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What.
There is no better guide through the invisible processes and systems that shape our lives together in church than Peter L. Steinke. Our leading authority on the systems of relationship that structure church life offers in his last book a deeply human vision of community in which faith and hope can exist alongside the anxiety of these times. This book is a gift.
Here's a book that sheds light on the puzzle presented by troubled congregations. Steinke's insights from the theory of family systems lead clergy and laity to deeper understanding and discernment rather than to easy answers and quick fixes
Steinke is a clear-eyed, skilled consultant whose insights have stood the test of time. Other than Edwin Friedman, Steinke, a Lutheran pastor who studied with Friedman, is perhaps the most well-known of all practitioners of family systems theory.