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How Your Church Congregation Works: Insights from Family Systems Theory

July 4 @ 9:30 am - 4:00 pm

| Free

This workshop is designed both for people new to Family Systems Theory, and those who have been introduced to some of the ideas on a Bridge Builders Transforming Conflict 1/Transforming Church Conflict course and would like to go deeper into the subject.

Ideas from Family Systems will be introduced and explored, with space to reflect on what this means for church leadership today.

The challenges of leading when anxiety is high 

Wherever people gather, emotional processes occur, sometimes bringing the joy of support, co-operation and friendship, but also bringing the potential for reactive, anxious behaviour. That’s true in families, churches and in any other groups. Family systems theory offers a lens for understanding how and why that reactive behaviour occurs and recognising where our own reactivity and patterns of anxiety come from.

As leaders, we are often the focus for reactivity. Anxious people want quick fixes, and someone or something to blame. Learning to lead well when anxiety is high is not a matter of tools and techniques (though these can be useful), but more about how we show up and where we lead from.

Recognising patterns and understanding our own reactivity is one step in being able to make different choices – to respond from a deeper, more centred place rather than being hooked by the anxiety flowing and pulsing in the systems of which we are part.

Drawing on insights from the work of Murray Bowen and Edwin Friedman, this workshop will both serve as an introduction to some of the ideas of Family Systems Theory and delve deeper into its application for church leadership today.

Alongside input on the topic, there will be biblical reflection and an opportunity to work with others in a small group on your own context and experiences.


Liz Griffiths is Director of Training for Bridge Builders. She is an Anglican Priest and has a broad experience of both parish ministry and adult education. Liz has worked in city centre and urban estate parishes, and as Vice-Principal of the Eastern Region Ministry Course, helping to train ordained and lay ministers.



Running from 9:30am to 4pm, the programme includes presentation and an opportunity to reflect with others on practical examples and personal experience.

Main elements of the workshop:

  • An introduction to some of the key ideas of family systems theory
  • Exploring how insights on systems and anxious behaviour might help to make sense of our own church context
  • Biblical reflection using a systems lens
  • Opportunities to reflect on situations from our own contexts and to share experience with others
  • Debrief and discussion of insights and next steps

Course Pre-work

Prior to the workshop, you will also be asked to bring examples from your own experience – more details will be given prior to the workshop.

Cost and Location

Cost £45. The workshop takes place online via Zoom. Details of the Zoom link will be circulated shortly before the event.

Booking and Cancellation

To apply, add a ticket to your cart below below. If you are subsequently unable to attend, please do let us know as soon as possible, in order to release a place for someone else.

If no more places are available and you would like to be added to a waiting list, please contact us on 020 3968 4999 or email richard@bbministries.org.uk.

If you experience any difficulty logging into our website, please contact us on 020 3968 4999.


July 4
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Event Categories:


Liz Griffiths


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