Generations to Come: The Future of Bowen Family Systems Theory and Congregational Ministry

pp. 67-86Date Published: 25 August 2015

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Bowen Family Systems Theory has valuable application for pastoral care and congregational health. Bowen Theory bases its paradigm on the idea that individuals can only be understood in the context of their nuclear and extended families, which function as interlocking “emotional units.” The health of these networks affects how individuals and groups respond to anxieties: instinctively or rationally. Many writers have explored the applicability of Bowen Theory to congregations. This article, in particular, calls for increased awareness of Bowen Theory among clergy, as they grapple with the personal, familial, and congregational anxieties that the challenges of the 21st century will bring. Hopefully, pastors will continue to explore the resources of Bowen Theory through seminary education, continuing education programs, and personal study.