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Leading in Anxious Times: A Systems Approach to Leadership

October 15, 2018 @ 10:30 am - November 28, 2018 @ 5:00 pm

| Free

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

  • Two overnight residentials – four training days in all

  • Running twice a year

  • 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. The input includes a filmed presentation by Friedman – who is an engaging speaker. 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.

For detailed information, please download the brochure Bridge Builders Course Leading in Anxious Times – Autumn 2018.


Liz Holdsworth leads the Adult Education and Ministry Training team in the Anglican Diocese of Peterborough, and is a Bridge Builders Training Partner. 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 residentials. It is important that you are able to attend both:

Residential One

  • Monday 15 October: arrive for coffee at 9:00am for 9:30am-1:00pm; 2:00-5:30pm; 7:30-9:00pm
  • Tuesday 16 October: 9:00am-1:00pm, 2:00-5:00pm

Residential Two

  • Tuesday 27 November: arrive for coffee at 9:00am for 9:30am-1:00pm; 2:00-5:30pm; 7:30-9:00pm
  • Wednesday 28 November: 9:00am-1:00pm, 2:00-5:00pm

Meals and Accommodation

Overnight single room accommodation. Includes lunch and evening meal on the first day, and breakfast and lunch on the second day. Refreshments are served on arrival and at break times. The course is held at Felden Lodge Conference Centre, Hemel Hempstead. The centre is set in 32 acres of grounds and is close to road and rail links.

Cost and Application

The standard cost for the course is £625.
Special price for spring £525 if booked by 15 June 2018.
Early bird rate of £575 if booked by 23 July 2018.
A 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.

Spaces are limited, so do apply early, as our courses are regularly over-subscribed.

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 20 August 2018 onwards). The balance of the fee is due eight weeks before the start of the course (i.e. by 20 August 2018). 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 lisa@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.


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