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2016 Iowa United Methodist School for Ministry

The 2016 Iowa United Methodist School for Ministry vision is a school that helps pastors & laity utilize Family Systems Theory and the UM Connection to strengthen their ministry. Congregations can adopt new ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, as well as learn how spiritually and emotionally healthy leaders influence the emotional needs of the people.

Do we really need conflict resolution?

The problem with “conflict resolution” is that it creates or reinforces the notion that conflict is bad, sinful and destructive and should not exist. Once we stop seeing resolution as an end in itself, we can understand more clearly the real nature of the underlying conflict — what it says about the system, the living body and its needs.

Have you ever thought of your church as haunted?

Our congregations and we cease to be haunted when we cease to be afraid of our past; our present and our possible future, our horizon, or those we wronged, those we did not help or those who we think might wrong us. We forgive ourselves and our congregations forgive themselves by changing the pattern, and we change the pattern by forgiving others and ourselves. Our fear is the measure of our absence.

Announcing Luther Smith as Guest Speaker at Atlanta Training

On Friday, 10/23 Dr. Luther E. Smith, Jr will be joining JustPeace in Atlanta for a luncheon conversation entitled Honoring Faith, Identity, and Community. This conversation will be part of a 2.5 day training, Leading Congregations Through Anxious Times.

10 Topics that can Escalate Anxiety in Congregations

In congregational life, some common topics activate anxiety. I call these hot buttons or triggers of anxiety. When these topics emerge, anxiety appears and can easily escalate. Although the list is not exhaustive, it highlights some common topics that escalate anxiety in congregations with whom I have worked:

Indicators of high anxiety in congregations

When the anxiety is lower, the congregation has a higher capacity to perceive what is trying to emerge and invite a new narrative. Granted, as anxiety rises, the functioning of people potentially becomes more reactive and conflict can easily follow, for conflict is a way of dealing with anxiety. The anxiety and conflict, when responded to appropriately by leaders, can be the catalyst for creative, adaptive growth and positive change.

What is Anxiety? An Emotional Systems Lens

Anxiety is like the wind—you cannot see it, but you can feel it and observe its impact. But to observe it, one must pay attention. For example, one cannot see the wind, but if you look at a flag on a flagpole, you can tell if there is wind, and if so, you can estimate its strength. You can feel it against your skin.