Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach

by Peter L. Steinke. The Alban Institute, 2006.

Applying the insights of systems theory to congregational life, Steinke argues that the congregation is best understood as a system and that the most effective way to nurture congregational health is by shifting the focus from single individuals or issues to the way the congregation functions as a whole. Steinke also discusses the ten principles of health, the "wheel of well being," and how anxiety can affect a congregation. He highlights the crucial role that leaders play in congregational functioning. In this era of emphasis on congregational growth, Steinke asserts that a declining congregation can also be healthy. Easily understandable, this book contains helpful illustrations from congregational life. With reflection and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, it will be useful for study by clergy or lay persons responsible for the health of a congregation.