Season 16: Episode 1 | What’s Really Going On? Systems Theory and the Soul of Leadership

Welcome to Season 16, Transforming Leadership: Managing Anxiety Within Our Communities. This season we will be exploring Systems Theory, also called Family Systems Theory. Many of us have seen the troubling Barna research about the extreme levels of burnout pastors are experiencing right now. As we look at Systems theory, we will be examining how it relates to and can transform our lives in leadership. Ruth welcomes guest Steve Cuss, pastor and author of Managing Leadership Anxiety, Yours and Theirs, to help us unpack Systems Theory.

In today’s episode Ruth is flying solo to give us an introduction to Systems Theory. She lays the groundwork for the season by detailing Bowen’s 8 concepts, while also giving us a general idea of Systems Theory and how it relates to anxiety and leadership. We think this introductory episode is just what we need to help us dive into the deep end with Ruth and Steve.


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Listen to other episodes from Season 16 Access past podcast seasons


Music Credit:
Kingdom Come by Aaron Niequist

Resources used in today’s episode:

Managing Leadership Anxiety, Yours and Theirs by Steve Cuss
Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue by Edwin H. Friedman
Extraordinary Relationships: A new Way of Thinking about Human Interactions by Roberta M Gilbert

General Resources for Systems Theory:

Season 9 Episode 6 of the Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast
Season 9 Episode 7 of the Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership Podcast
Family Systems and Congregational Life: A Map for Ministry by R. Robert Creech
Lombard Mennonite Peace Center

Support the podcast! This season, patrons will receive exclusive bonus content that includes conversations with Ruth and Steve that delve into episode topics a little deeper. This week we will be sharing a conversation with Ruth and podcast producer Colleen where Colleen gets to ask Ruth her questions about Systems Theory. Become a patron today by visiting our Patreon page!


The Transforming Center exists to create space for God to strengthen leaders and transform communities. You are invited to join our next Transforming Community:® A Two-year Spiritual Formation Experience for Leaders.  Delivered in nine quarterly retreats, this practice-based learning opportunity is grounded in the conviction that the best thing you bring to leadership is your own transforming self!

Transforming Center

We desire to see churches and Christian organizations become communities of authentic spiritual transformation – and that begins with transforming leaders. We seek to strengthen the souls of pastors and leaders, equipping them to guide their churches and organizations to become spiritually transforming communities that discern and do the will of God in their settings. Read more about the Transforming Center.
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