from May 14, 2007
Book Notes: Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, by Peter l. Steinke
Many of you are probably familiar with Peter Steinke’s earlier books, How Your Church Family Works (which, by the way, is a great text for an adult Sunday school class), and Healthy Congregations. In this book Steinke focuses on the functioning of the leader. In the preface he says, “To lead means to have some command of our own anxiety and some capacity not to let other people’s anxiety contaminate us; that is, not to allow their anxiety to affect our thinking, actions, and decisions.”
This book is about anxiety – what it is, how it affects systems, and the importance of a leader’s ability to self-differentiate, or in other words, to remain a “self” and not get drawn into “group-think” or be sucked in to the anxiety of another. Chapters in this book address how the brain works, healthy boundaries, and the dangerous but important role of a leader to “rock” the congregation’s balance.
I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about leadership in our current culture and situation, and for anyone who wants to better understand the anxiety in their church or ministry situation and what they can do to say apart from it and still be connected in healthy ways.