The last eighteen months have been like a car crash that has played out in slow motion. As they have seen this tragedy unfold over this time, pastors and church leaders have been tasked with responding to constant change while managing the surrounding anxiety of their church and their surrounding communities. For many, if not most leaders, managing all this has pushed them to the brink of their own mental and emotional health, and they find themselves reeling from the seemingly unending challenges, unsure of even how to respond or move forward.
It’s often said that “we name things to tame things,” meaning if we can start to recognize and identify the challenges happening within ourselves, we can begin to address these challenges and move toward a healthier place. When we’re feeling unwell, we often go see our primary car physician so they can diagnose and then begin to treat what’s ailing us. The same principle holds true when dealing with our own mental and emotional health. When we can recognize and address these challenges, we can begin to plan to move towards a healthier place.
One such diagnostic tools is Family Systems, a Theory developed by Murray Bowen and applied to the congregational setting by Edwin Friedman, which offers unique names and concepts to help pastors and church leaders recognize and then respond to the challenges that are negatively affecting their overall health—as well as the health of the broader system. Building off the work of Bowen and Freidman, many pastoral leaders have contributed some great additional tools.
In the interview, we talk with pastor and author Steve Cuss about Family Systems Theory, the trauma leaders have experienced over the last year, some of the tools available to help leaders manage their own anxiety and lead well, and how he enjoys helping leaders break long stuck patterns in themselves and their organizations.
Steve has a Master of Divinity from Emmanuel Christian Seminary where he focused on Hebrew Scriptures and Family Systems. Since 2005, Steve has served as Lead Pastor of Discovery Christian Church in Broomfield, Colorado. Steve grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is married with two sons and a daughter.