Family Systems Thinking
Each year our ministry talks about the role of how families impact teenagers. Really youth ministry circles have been talking about youth and their families for over two decades. My bias is that Dr. Karla Powell and Dr. Chap Clark are clearly kicking butt in leading the charge in equipping youth workers to work with families.
So in a very brief 20 minutes at our monthly In-service we do a big perspective / general idea about family systems thinking. I use a powerful visual for this.
A baby mobile. Like the one you find over a crib.
If you touch one of the little lambs, animal, whatever… it bounces and loses its balance. This is the nature of family systems. You change one person, in this case a teenager who comes into your ministry, and wow, God starts moving in their lives or you start having and impact on their lives. One small change, and the family dynamics, or the system can change.
As you get to know a teenager these questions will give you a descriptive picture of why they act the way they do.
Honestly, I wished 30 years ago when I started in youth ministry in the early 80’s I would have been introduced to this concept of family systems. The reference on the bottom of Edwin Friedman’s book Generation to Generation is not easy to read nor a fun read. It doesn’t have a lot of pictures nor humor.
It is one of three books outside of the Bible that changed my life. Really.
I hope this teaching is helpful to you as it has been in our ministry.