Israel Galindo on Triangles

In Thursday’s teleconference with Israel Galindo, he offered some terrific suggestions for how leaders can better managing themselves in triangles:

1. Assume that whenever you are speaking with someone, you are in a triangle. Nothing is every simply about just you and the other person.

2. If I’m pastoring a congregation, the way most of my congregation relate to me is from the position of pastor first and individual second. We experience a lot of projection from our church members, not because of us personally, but because we occupy the position of leader.

3. Take out Friedman’s book and memorize the eight laws of triangles. (See Edwin Friedman, Generation to Generation , 35-39.)

4. Learn to discern how you personally experience intense triangles (for example, becoming overwhelmed by feelings or becoming confused). Learn to know your own family of origin patterns around triangles.

5. If you find yourself stuck in a triangle, take paper and pencil and start to diagram the triangles. You will get a little more distance and be better able to see the dynamics at play in the triangles.

The recording of the teleconference is available. E-mail me at, and I’ll send you the link.

2 replies on “Israel Galindo on Triangles

  • Margaret Marcuson

    Thanks for these thoughtful comments, Rebecca. There’s a way that simply thinking differently about “head butting” committees in itself lowers the anxiety somewhat. Israel’s idea about the triangle between the pastor, that committee and the congregation is something to reflect on. I think he did suggest, or at least imply, that putting your leadership energies elsewhere is more productive for the ministry.

  • Rebecca Maccini

    Thank you for making the teleconference available. I took notes and have been very thoughtful about it since I heard it. I pondered and pondered about the comment that the purpose of a church committee might be to help maintain the homeostasis in a church. Would that be something that the leader would discern? How long would it take to discern something like that about a committee?
    What is the pastor’s role regarding those committees that we keep “banging our heads against the wall?” –Okay, I take a new stance with that committee, or don’t try so hard, or put my energies elsewhere and then just deal with the ‘reactivity’ -if the committee is Christian Education, the reactivity comes when Sunday School attendance drops and the number of children that come up for children’s time during worship decreases by half. There are probably other creative ways to deal with the problem of a ‘head butting’ committee that I am not able to conjure up in my head. There’s probably a creative church book just published that would tell me how to deal with these committees, or how to reshape them, and take away, for the short term, some of the anxiety about this problem.


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