Participant Feedback

Doug Hester, D. Min      Ministry Leadership Concepts

"Doug Hester is a minister, therapist, teacher and most importantly a systems thinker.  He brings his experience in all these areas to his seminars.  Doug's presentation style makes systems theory and the leadership ideas of Edwin Friedman come alive.  For clergy of all denominations these seminars can be a life line."
Mickie Crimone, MS, APRN
The Center for Family Process, Bethesda, MD (co-founder with Edwin Friedman)

"From the first moments of teaching, it is obvious Doug Hester has been fully enmeshed in the life of the parish.  He gets it!  Doug knows how congregations work and in his pastoral presentations helps pastors and congregational leaders make positive changes in the way they relate to and work with God's people."
The Rev. Thomas A. Skrenes
Retired Bishop, Northern Great Lakes Synod, E.L.C.A.

"I have been a participant in Doug Hester's Ministry Leadership Concepts for over a decade.  My long term involvement reflects the value I place on Doug's workshop.  In his monthly workshop, Doug explores some dimension of Bowen Family System theory, applying that concept to ministry in the local church.  Family systems theory offers an alternative way of thinking about the dynamics inherent in church life and, thereby, offers a healthier way of functioning as a leader in the church.  Thinking systems is like learning a new language.  Constant use and reinforcement are necessary.  Doug's knowledge of systems theory and his workshops are a valuable resource in that process."

The Rev. Dr. Steve Langford

Retired Methodist Pastor, Arlington, TX

"I am convinced that my participation in Doug Hester's class gave me insights into systems thinking that healed me and my parish."

The Rev. Patrick Miller

Rector, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Houston, TX

"Studying with Rev. Hester has transformed my ministry.  It has been an interactive experience of personal growth and acquired wisdom from a colleague who cares deeply about healthy religion."

The Rev. Mark Walz

Minister, Unitarian Universalist Village Church, Hot Springs Village, AR

President of the Southwest Chapter, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association

"I appreciate the perspective and intentionality this class gives me concerning serving a church."

The Rev. Dr. Ryan Pfeiffer

Senior Minister, First Christian Church, Fayetteville, AR

"This class has been an important instrument for growth, personally and professionally.  I cannot overstate the critical function of self-reflection and learning that comes against the backdrop of the dual work of family systems theory and congregational systems, practiced with fellow clergy as we strive to do ministry."

The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason

Dean and Rector, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle, WA

"There seems to be virtually nothing in human experience to which systems theory does not apply!  Whether talking about one's family of origin, one's nuclear family, one's workplace or one's parish, the thought and teaching of Ed Friedman and Murray Bowen have insight to provide.  Even when their suggestions seem counterintuitive, if their principles are faithfully applied, great health seems to ensue.  Doug Hester's particular gift is that he knows systems theory so well and is such a fine and experienced teacher, he can render its complexities comprehensible and offer sage counsel for dealing with the dilemmas we all face in our lives, both personally and professionally.  I highly recommend him."
The Very Rev. Douglas Travis
Former Dean and President -- The Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest  

"For several years a colleague encouraged me to try Doug's systems class and I always found a reason not to take him up on the invitation.  Then three years ago I finally took the plunge and I haven't looked back.  I've enrolled each year and will continue to do so as long as I'm in range of one of Doug's class sites.  The material presented, and Doug's approach, have proven to be an invaluable resource in addressing the challenges of parish ministry and family relationships with some measure of theological, professional, and personal integrity and depth."
Rev. James Hejl
Taylor Brethren Church, Taylor, TX

"I've worked with Doug for several years.  Every time we gather with him I wish I had been doing this work from the beginning of my ordained life.  Consistently working on my own family system and my own anxiety has been a godsend to me, my family and the congregation.  I highly recommend working with and learning from Doug."

Rev. Hunt Priest

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Savannah, GA

"Doug Hester is a master teacher! Yet he does more than merely 'inform' his loyal students. Indeed, Doug inspires calm, confidence and reflection in each of us. So by all means, come and study Family Systems Theory with Doug Hester; he will enrich your professional life through his expertise! Additionally, Doug will help you become a more 'centered' spiritual leader, using his life's journey as a model for professional growth."
Rabbi Seth Stander 
Chaplain, Houston, TX

"The classes have helped not only my pastor-parish relationships, but my family relationships as well.  Plus, I feel I've grown both as a person and as a pastor.  Most exciting is that I find myself thinking more systemically about the church, my family, and all my relationships.  I recommend the class for all."
Rev. Mike Cave
Retired Methodist Pastor, Hunt, TX

"I believe family systems theory is an answer to the 'how' of the two great commandments: to love God and to love one's neighbor. Through these classes we learn ways to build healthier relationships. And through class interaction, we find support with one another as we share common concerns and struggle."
Rev. Ed Wolf
First Presbyterian Church, Galveston, TX

"It's one thing to learn something for the first time and formulate professional skills.  It's quite another to revisit the same learning after years of experience and enjoy having the blanks filled in.  Each requires a different teaching approach.  Doug Hester has mastered the art of doing both well and at the same time.  But then, in systems theory, what else is new?"
Lane Johnson, Counselor, Private Practice
Victoria, TX

"Doug Hester's class on Family Systems Theory, based on the work of Rabbi Ed Friedman, should be required of every minister, priest, rabbi and imam in Texas!  The application of this powerful theory to religious life can literally change one's active ministry overnight.  Doug's presentation is interesting, witty and intelligent; you will certainly leave each class energized and ready to face the day with renewed enthusiasm for your ministry or rabbinate.  Many people return to Doug's class year after year in order to soak up this material; truly the use of Ed Friedman's work is boundless and timeless."
Rabbi Jordan Parr
Plano, TX

"In the past I have picked up bits and pieces of Family Systems Theory from here and there, but this course has helped me see the overall picture.  What I have learned has helped me make a whole lot of sense out of relationships in the congregation I serve and in my family."
Rev. Jeff Thompson
Retired Lutheran Pastor, E.L.C.A.

"I've enjoyed the class in many respects:  It has helped me grow as a person, as a pastor, as a family member, but most importantly as a Child of God.  My only regret is that I didn't start taking the class sooner!!!  I highly recommend it."
Rev. Consuelo Donahue
Retired Presbyterian Pastor, San Antonio, TX

"I really enjoy Doug's class on systems theory based on the works of Murray Bowen and Edwin Friedman.  He has such a depth of knowledge of systems theory as it applies to families and to organizations as well as a thought provoking teaching style.  At the end of each class I come away with more insights and tools to bring to my family, my business, and to my clients, especially to those clients owning family businesses."
Lisa Bargsley, CPA
Austin, TX

"Is chronic anxiety making it difficult for you to keep Jesus' command to 'Consider the lilies!'?  Doug Hester and the Family Systems approach to life and ministry will help you 'consider the lilies' AND 'smell the roses.'"
Rev. Bette Burris
Retired Presbyterian Pastor, Goliad, TX