Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (MTh)




Martin Luther University College

First Advisor

Delton J. Glebe

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


God's covenant with Abraham embodied a promise of a great family beginning with a son being born to Sarah in her old age. Abraham is considered a man of great faith. What drove Abraham's faith? Was it an altruistic desire to serve God or was it a strong desire to have a family or an intertwining of both‘? This thesis proposes to examine how emotional family process shapes our faith and how faith development shapes our ‘families’. Every family has a story to tell. ln the introduction I share my family story. The focus of chapter one is how God's story is intertwined with the story of the human family through the promise of God's covenant Chapter two illustrates how the implicit story, the family emotional process, interferes with the explicit story of the church, the Gospel. Chapter three reviews Murray Bowen's theory of family systems. Edwin Friedman and Peter Steinke have applied Bowen theory to the congregational family. The results of their work are reflected upon. Chapter four explores ways to intertwine the explicit story of the church and the implicit story of the family emotional process in a more life enhancing manner by reconsidering the way we do our rituals and tell our stories.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season