By Ronald Richardson
Among the most helpful and widely acclaimed resources for addressing church conflict and the quality of church life is Richardson's groundbreaking volume Creating a Healthier Church (Fortress Press, 1996). His application of family systems theory to congregational life has enormously clarified its operative systems and especially its emotional system. In this sequel, Richardson employs the same methodology to address the roots of personal issues that may hinder pastors' ability to function effectively as leaders within their congregations, and may in fact cause them deep difficulties. He especially addresses pastors' own families of origin, a major but often hidden component in how they function emotionally in their congregations. When anxiety arises, unresolved familial issues and old family patterns return, often unhelpfully. Richardson explores these patterns, how they operate in church situations, and how pastors can do their own family-of-origin assessment. His volume will become a standard tool for analysis of patterns in ministerial behavior and developing strong personal effectiveness.