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Editorial Reviews

Review

Marcuson brings practical and tested wisdom to the pages of this book on effective ministry leadership. Insightful, often playful, she shares her coaching expertise in this short course on effective leadership. - Israel Galindo, author, The Hidden Lives of Congregations

Both enlightening and encouraging, Marcuson's book makes a significant contribution to the literature on Bowen theory and ministry, offering insights into leadership that lasts. - Peter L. Steinke, author, Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What, and church consultant

A recognized coach to leaders, Marcuson brings real world wisdom to the pages of this book on effective ministry leadership. This is a welcome contribution to any pastor's bookshelf. - G.R.A.C.E. Writes: Christian Education at its best! A blog site

Book Description

"By challenging leaders to define ourselves, connect with those we lead, and regulate own anxiety through the process, Marcuson offers a model for sustainable leadership. I commend this book to all who long to last in their call to lead."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: SEABURY BOOKS (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596270950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596270954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #651,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rev. Margaret J. Marcuson is a leader of leaders, ordained minister, and teacher and student of human systems. She speaks and writes on leadership and works with faith leaders nationally as a consultant/coach through her company Marcuson Leadership Circle, based in Portland, Oregon. Her website is http://margaretmarcuson.com/.

Margaret became deeply interested in leadership during her thirteen years as the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Massachusetts. "Over time I shifted from attempting the impossible--changing others--to the merely difficult--changing myself," she says. Her work focuses on how leaders manage themselves in relation to those they lead. They can challenge those they lead, and nurture their relationship with those they lead, but they cannot will others to change. "For me as a leader this was profoundly freeing," she says.

Margaret is on the faculty of the Leadership in Ministry workshops. She is a frequent guest preacher in churches. Her seminar and conference speaking and consulting crosses denominations, She is often called on to guide clergy through personal and congregational crisis.



Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SUSAN ENGPOOLE on April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
If church leaders had only one practical book to apply for creating and sustaining a healthy ministry, this is the one to read. I didn't want to put it down! Since I serve in a Judicatory capacity, I can see where Margaret Marcuson has addressed the real issues. The chapters include: Know Your Church's Story; Know Your Own Story; Know Your Purpose; Understand Money; Lead and Do Not Panic; Stay Connected. If you serve in a church leadership role, I would highly recommend that you put this book on the top of your reading list.
Rev. Susan EngPoole
Unity of Louisville Church
Louisville, KY
[...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randall Day on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you want to do ministry and still have a life - this book is for you. Also, if you care about your effectiveness and not wasting the time and energy you're spending, spend some time and energy getting this book and reading it. This is one of those rare times when you can read, reflect, and find yourself breathing easier.

Margaret has a real gift for taking a life-sustaining "theory" of healthy practice and applying it to real ministry in congregations and organizations. You won't be wondering what this has to do with your actual situation - she's been there and makes the connections.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James D. Boyer on May 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Margaret Marcuson has provided pastors with a practical, powerful guide to living out their ministry as leaders in such a way that their leadership itself becomes a ministry. In each chapter she highlights ways to think and act as a leader that result in greater health, clearer direction and deeper satisfaction in ministry. In "Taking Responsibility for Self" Marcuson illuminates the balancing act between over and under functioning while suggesting leaders challenge members as a way of leading. In my favorite chapter, "Know Your Purpose" Marcuson spells out leadership by self differentiation in practical, clear terms. This difficult concept comes to life in her examples, personal references and guidelines. Overall Marcuson has done a superb job of adding her voice to those who have demonstrated the usefulness of Bowen theory for the adventure of pastoral ministry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Drysdale on March 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Just a couple of months after I read and enjoyed Margaret's book, a conflict in my church burst forth and my leadership style became the focus of the heat. The day I was preparing to enter into a difficult conversation with a church member regarding the conflict, I picked Margaret's book up--again--and began to re-read it. This book was exactly what I needed at that moment. Margaret's thoughtful, grounded-in-Family-Systems-Theory insights and suggestions helped me to calm down, take a deep breath, and ask myself a number of questions in an effort to gain clarity before I entered the meeting. While the hard conversation was still hard, my entire spirit and demeanor changed...for the better. I was profoundly grateful to have a solid resource like this at my finger tips. I suspect I will use over and over again as I continue in church leadership.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Maccini on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a really honest book for those in pastoral ministry. It is not fluffy or filled with tools and techniques, but is a realistic portrayal of the challenges in ministry and some of the ways to meet those challenges with authenticity and health. The chapter about money offers much wisdom for those of us working in congregations, thinking lofty theological thoughts about generosity and stewardship which don't seem to always work practically. It is also filled with wise thoughts from those working as pastors, who have found creative ways to fulfill their call to be faithful and faith-filled teachers and preachers of the gospel.
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Format: Paperback
LEADERS WHO LAST
Margaret Marcuson

Where I live in South-central Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Dutch have a saying: "We are too soon old and too late smart." Now in my 35th year of ordained ministry, I know the wisdom of that saying. I've been in ministry long enough to look back on my younger days in parish ministry and say, "I wish I knew then what I know now." And yet, there are also times even now when I say, "I should know better than to make that mistake," or "How in the world could I make that stupid mistake again?"

Margaret Marcuson, a Baptist pastor and church consultant, has written a book that imparts wisdom to pastors, so they can perhaps get a little smarter before they get older. Leaders Who Last is a book for both the newly-ordained neophyte and the seasoned veteran of parish ministry. I wish I'd had this book when I started out; perhaps I might have avoided some of the mistakes I made, and I would have been more aware of what really was going on in my parish. I am glad I have the book now, both as a review of what makes for sustained leadership in a parish and a tool for reflection on how I am doing in ministry now.

Marcuson's goal in this book is simple and straightforward: to help pastors move from doing the impossible - controlling others - to the merely difficult: managing themselves. The former is a recipe for burn-out. The art of pastoral leadership is to focus more on one's identity, functioning, purpose, and goals instead of assuming everything in the parish depends on what the pastor does, or assuming responsibility for the functioning of others.

How does one do this, in concrete terms? Marcuson views a pastor's functioning through the lens of Bowen Family Theory.
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