Equipping, Challenging, Clarifying With Grace…

May 18, 2012

On Thursday, May 3, 2012, Rev. Dr. Emlyn Ott, Executive Director of Healthy Congregations, Inc. offered a thought-provoking presentation focused on what is now called “Bowen theory” or “natural systems theory.”  Her presentation attracted over 40 leaders from congregations and non-profit organizations to this educational opportunity held at The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul and sponsored by Inter-Church Ministries.It comes as no surprise that research shows that the United States has been named the most highly anxious society in the world.  Just pick up a newspaper or listen to the nightly news — or you and I can easily tweet…blog…YouTube…social media ourselves into a 24/7 anxious frenzy — within our families, our neighborhoods and our communities.

As anxiety is the reaction to real or imagined threat, how can leaders in an organization, congregation or family addresss the anxiety of change?  Dr. Ott suggests…listen…learn to watch…discern facts of functioning about self and others…develop objective knowledge…one cannot assess anxiety with feelings…when anxiety is high enough, it prevents accurate self-awareness and leads to decisions that are made for immediate relief.

The challenge … “Leading in an Age of the Superquick Fix”…psst…there is no quick fix!   Dr. Ott shared that “an organization functions best to the extent that its leaders (formal and informal) are in a process of being clear about themselves, their position in the organization and looking at the relationships that are a part of their world.  A faith community can be an expression of the search for connectedness and purpose.  Mission is the expression of the church’s deep, abiding beliefs…mission provides the major standard against which all activities, services, programs, policies and decisions are evaluated.”

“All healthy relationship systems exist in a creative tension between vision and reality.”  “True human relationships are rich, messy and demanding” (Simone Joyaux).  Moving toward conflict rather that away from it, can we maintain a spirit of adventure and exploration?  What is our ‘new world’ to be discovered?  Overcoming the influence of imagination barriers and allowing that which is outside our direct thinking and expectation process, may provide the tools for working together…united in faith…to make this a better community for all!

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