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Leading in Anxious Times: A Systems Approach to Leadership ONLINE COURSE

October 5, 2020 @ 9:00 am - November 17, 2020 @ 5:30 pm

| Free


This foundation course is the successor to the well-received courses Leading with Emotional Maturity and Church Leadership & Family Systems.

  • Two sessions, each involving two days of online training – four training days in all

  • Aimed at people with leadership responsibility in the church and other Christian organisations

  • Focused on personal growth and character

  • Helps you understand, and transform, your pattern of relating to others

This course deepens the capacity of Christian leaders to stay at peace in challenging situations, through exploring relationships and patterns within the leader’s own family of origin, and in the light of a systems approach to leadership.

A way of looking at human relationships

Family Systems Theory is a key element of the course content. This theory, pioneered by Dr Murray Bowen, holds that every family should be viewed as a discrete emotional unit, and that the system of relationships within a family is affected by two key factors: the level of anxiety within the system and the level of “differentiation” of family members. From these ideas, Bowen developed a framework for thinking about human relationships that has implications for all aspects of life. It has important resonances with Jesus’ teaching about worry, his solid sense of who he was in relation to others, and his ministry being rooted in his relationship with his Father.

The course also explores some of Edwin Friedman’s ideas on the challenges facing church leaders today. Friedman’s book, Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue, was the first to make Family Systems Theory accessible as a tool for understanding relationships in congregations. Its key insight is that families and congregations have much in common as relationship-systems. Friedman has pointed to a rising level of anxiety in society, and the impact it is having on families. This is likely to affect the church with increasing intensity in the years ahead. We can expect heightened pressures in congregations and increased demands upon leaders. It is therefore vital that leaders step back occasionally from the fray and learn to manage themselves in a calmer, more intentional way.

A way of facing challenges

Leading in Anxious Times provides a safe forum for processing challenging situations in ministry. There is a mixture of presentation, exploration of basic concepts, facilitated small group work, and opportunities for personal reflection in the light of new learning. Group work focuses first on understanding relationships in your own family of origin, and then on relationships in your ministry context, giving each person feedback and coaching. Each day will open with prayer and worship. To facilitate learning in an online environment, breaks and time for individual reflection will be included throughout the day.

This course is intensive, and we strongly recommend avoiding any other significant work commitments during the evenings of the four training days.


Liz Holdsworth Until recently, Liz led the Adult Education and Ministry Training team in the Anglican Diocese of Peterborough. She is an experienced adult educator, and develops and delivers training courses with a focus on supporting lay and ordained leaders working together.

Sandra Cobbin is an independent trainer and consultant. She works with business and church leaders on management and leadership skills.

Course Timings

The course consists of two 2-day online sessions. It is important that you are able to attend both:

Part One

  • Monday 5 October 2020: 9:00am–5:30pm  (Includes breaks and time for personal reflection)
  • Tuesday 6 October 2020: 9:00am–5:30pm  (Includes breaks and time for personal reflection)

Part Two

  • Monday 16 November 2020: 9:00am–5:30pm  (Includes breaks and time for personal reflection)
  • Tuesday 17 November 2020: 9:00am–5:30pm  (Includes breaks and time for personal reflection)

Cost and Application

The cost for the course is £390. An electronic training manual is included in the fee.

Bursaries: if you are on a low income, a bursary may be available to help cover the cost of attending. Please see the bursary information page.

Booking & Cancellation

To apply, add a ticket to your cart below. Applications remain provisional until Bridge Builders has received a deposit of £100. Once accepted, the £100 deposit is a non-refundable. The full fee is owed if a place is cancelled within eight weeks of the course start date (i.e. from 10 August 2020 onwards). The balance of the fee is due eight weeks before the start of the course (i.e. by 10 August 2020). Please see our terms and conditions and data protection policy.

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 bb@bbministries.org.uk.

Please note: If a third party (eg. Diocese) is paying for your ticket, please book using your own name and contact details. Select direct bank transfer as the payment option and you will receive an order confirmation containing bank details. You can either pay directly, or forward the order confirmation to the third party for payment.

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


October 5, 2020 @ 9:00 am
November 17, 2020 @ 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Liz Griffiths


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