Too often, a pastor’s hopes and dreams for ministry are not matched by the reality experienced. At those times, one wonders what happened – how did things get this complicated and difficult? The most pressing question is: What do I do now?
Many leaders have found significant help in Bowen Theory, and in Rabbi Edwin Friedman’s applications of it to congregations and leadership. Yet, learning this way of seeing the world and relationships can be challenging. Even more challenging is learning to function in a way that promotes health and well-being. The shift from individual thinking to systems thinking requires repeated encounters with the broader view of reality. Working on one’s own functioning – differentiating a self – requires knowledge as well as practice – and lots of time!
The Voyagers are offering an online training program, based in the reality of congregational ministry, in Bowen Theory and Friedman’s work with the theory. The goal is to make learning Bowen Theory accessible to clergy by making it available online, and at an affordable price.
Each year consists of 6 modules. The overall training program – two years long – contains 12 modules, each going into theory and its application a little more deeply.
The learning approach is a little unusual. Rather than beginning with explaining the concepts of Bowen Theory, the Voyagers Online Training begins each module with a narrative: Hope at Peace. This is the story of Pastor Hope as she begins work in a new congregation. Challenges and joys presented by the congregation and the community, as well as Pastor Hope’s nuclear and extended family weave through the narrative, providing a real context in which to see and explore the concepts of Bowen Theory.
Each module has 5 components:
1) One chapter in the story of “Hope at Peace” – text and/or podcast;
2) One online presentation and discussion of concepts in that particular chapter – accessible at will for the period of two months;
3) One reading and one ‘active’ assignment – e.g., family of origin diagram;
4) One online small group meeting for discussion and case studies; and
5) One individual online coaching session.
Year One: Hope at Peace
Module 1: Genesis/Beginnings. (January, 2024)
Module 2: The Honeymoon. (March, 2024)
Module 3: Life Together. (May, 2024)
Module 4: The Presence of the Past. (July, 2024)
Module 5: The Lay of the Land. (September, 2024)
Module 6: Facing Facts. (November, 2024)
An Important Note: The Voyagers Online Family Systems Training is designed to promote the learning and growth of individuals, and their functioning within their family and work systems. It is not designed to prepare participants to teach, train and/or coach others. Work on self – differentiating a self – is the heart of Bowen theory.
The cost per year is $825, if paid in full with Zelle; or $800 if paid by check. (If you pay by check, you may opt to do so in two payments: $400 at registration and $400 by the beginning of Module 3.) Registration for the 2024 year will open September 1, 2023.
To register for Year 2 of Online Family Systems Training, contact Carol Jeunnette at [email protected].
Note for Wisconsin Lutheran pastors: Surplus funds from a Siebert Foundation Grant for teaching systems thinking to first-call pastors may be available for your tuition assistance. Please contact Carol Jeunnette.