Leadership • Family • Church

Seminars from 1993 through 2025 and Beyond

Family Process and Natural Systems Leadership Seminars

Postgraduate Clergy and Lay Leader Seminars on Family Process and Natural Systems: 
Working with the Bowen/Friedman Axis on Emotional Process and Leadership

Opportunities for clergy and church leaders attracted to natural systems thinking and theory that pivots off of a Bowen/Friedman Axis or relationship (the pioneer and the adventurer) are available through design.     Theory and its clinical application, along with theological reflection, will address ministry and leadership. Interim consultations  are also  offered.

The seminar    continues an in-depth focus on Rabbi Friedman's book, Failure of Nerve:  Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix.  Previous writings and unpublished transcribed material supplements the use of Friedman's work with Bowen Theory and Leadership.  Participants are invited to present cases and research areas of interest and application.


About the Presenter

Larry Foster

Larry Foster, along with associating colleagues, is under call to provide seminars on family process and leadership. He is an ordained pastor, family therapist, pastoral counselor, and seminary instructor. Several other associating colleagues also participate in the seminars as presenters.

He completed extensive 8 plus years work under Rabbi Edwin Friedman in advanced postgraduate study of family process. He studied with Dr. Murray Bowen, the major mentor of Rabbi Friedman and early researcher in family theory. He participates in Bridgebuilders and Healthy Congregations designed by Dr. Peter Steinke.

Dr. Foster has done postgraduate training at the Ann Arbor Center for the Family, the Minnesota Institute of Family Dynamics, and the Georgetown Family Center, Washington, D.C.

He is a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and Diplomate in the National Association of Sports Counselors. He served in the Army as a trained infantryman, and played seven years of professional baseball. He is a husband and father of two sons, two grandsons and one granddaughter.

Practical skills and experience from 24 years as a parish pastor are brought to the seminars and presentations. For 23 years he worked with and served pastors, ministers, priests, lay leaders, bishops, judiacatorory leaders, and members of the helping professions.  He currently serves as Curriculum and Development Coordinator for the ELCA Systems Academy.

Comments from Past Seminar Participants

This has been the place to hang out while in the ministry.

Being able to think more systemically puts "success" and progress into a new and relevant framework.

I'm getting up a whole lot better in the morning for some reason.

How people treat each other determines how things go.

Staying away from the bullets that don't have your name on them has new meaning.

The seminar helped me sustain my work on  becoming a less anxious presence.

This has been eye-opening, a place to step aside from dynamics and pressures.

This stuff saved my ministry.

I think I saw a "systems moment" when my husband began a new conversation with his  anxious mother.

It's been hard, slow work but things are different, good different.

Much of what I have faced in the congregation is immaturity, theirs and mine.

The impact of the systems thinking continues to help me think clearer, and see my part in the processes of life.

I continue to find deep rewards from this ongoing study, reflection, and practice.

As challenging as the concepts can be to master -- and even understand -- practicing the non-anxious presence, and other principles is, I deem, even more challenging! …… Yet, the insights have continued to be a rich background and fruitful for ministry and life.

I'm more frequently at the point of welcoming difficult people as teachers. 

Not taking all the blame for what happens is a great release for me.

Biblical stories and incidents are taking on fresh humanity and correspondence.

When I worry about being an adequate parent for my kids this frame of reference opens up the grace of a wider lens and less blame.