Family Systems and Congregational Life

A Map for Ministry

by ROBERT CREECH (Author)R. Robert Creech (Author)
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"This scholarly yet personal integration of Bowen Family Systems Theory into life and ministry can engage readers in their own versions of working on differentiation of self. Applying this approach promises to bring change for the better in a family or congregation--even in the larger community. Creech illustrates and inspires that effort."
--Victoria Harrison, Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family ( and Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (

"Robert Creech has provided a fresh approach to pastoral ministry, no matter the size of the congregation. The study of Bowen Family Systems Theory has changed my approach to life and ministry over the last sixteen years, and Family Systems and Congregational Life will benefit me and my communities of faith as I continue to digest this well-written text abounding with Creech's fresh insights. Those who are just learning about the theory, as well as seasoned advocates doing the hard yet rewarding work of living out these principles, will find refreshment and encouragement in these pages for the sometimes challenging work of ministry."
--Becky L. Towne, Houston Graduate School of Theology

"Creech makes a tremendous contribution to understanding Bowen Family Systems Theory, pastoral theology, and the practice of ministry. Using the adage 'always take a map,' he makes a case for the application of emotional process thinking in every aspect of ministry. The appendixes are pure gold. This book is a must for those who wish to effectively face challenges within their families, faith communities, and the wider world."
--Emlyn A. Ott, executive director and CEO, Healthy Congregations, Inc.; Bexley Seabury Seminary

"Creech offers a map for the practice of ministry. This book will make the challenges a little easier: leadership, exegesis and preaching, visioning and pastoral care. Leaders are also encouraged to attend to their own emotional and spiritual growth. Most of the chapters are by themselves worth the price of the book. It is clear and practical, while also well grounded theologically and theoretically. Buy it and keep it at hand; you'll want to read and reread it."
--Margaret Marcuson, author of Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry and Money and Your Ministry



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R. Robert Creech, Author

R. Robert Creech (PhD, Baylor University) is Hubert H. and Gladys S. Raborn Professor of Pastoral Leadership and director of pastoral ministries at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. He formerly taught at Houston Baptist University and served as senior pastor of University Baptist Church in Houston. He is the author of Family Systems and Congregational Life and coauthor of Ethics for Christian Ministry.

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