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Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry Paperback – March 1, 2009
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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
"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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Two of my favorite "mustard seeds" in this book:
"When we unconsciously act from our family script, our choices are limited. It tells us how to be angry, or how to hide, or how to protect others. We learned our lines as soon as we learned to talk" (page 34).
"When you are more motivated for people to change than they are, then you have a problem--and they have all the power. The more they resist, the more you get sucked in. The more energy you spend trying to change them, the more things stay the same" (page 54).
Those two concepts can give me food for thought for months to consider and apply.
And there are many more! I will recommend this book to my colleagues and friends.
Her systems based approach to leadership is summed up in the motto, "Manage thyself." She explains family-systems theory in a simple and practical way. Each chapter contains wisdom enough to validate the purchase of the book. I am quick to recommend this book to all my friends in ministry, especially those who are just beginning their ministry career.
Whether you have been in ministry for a long time or are just beginning the adventure give yourself the gift reading this book. It will bless you, your family, and your church.
I particularly appreciate the lists of questions Margaret has created for nearly every chapter. Some are questions I need to be asking myself about my own functioning, while others are questions I need to be asking about the churches I serve. Many can be adapted for use in conversation with parishioners and leaders, and all of them are systems-based and thoughtful. The chapter on understanding money is one of the most helpful treatments I've ever read -- and perhaps the only one I've ever seen from a Family Systems perspective.
Marcuson's mentors, Murray Bowen of family systems theory and Rabbi Edwin Friedman, provide her with ample effective ways to reframe congregational function and dysfunction. Her own experiences plus those from her extensive consulting career offer real illustrations. You will see yourself here!
She counsels clergy accept responsibility for ourselves, and encourage, teach and model maturity so that congregants might grow in spiritual maturity themselves. Calling the popular model of good ministry simply "overfunctioning," she demonstrates how to step back from the fray and lead, after reflecting on ourself, our call, and the nature of the congregation. Such leaders, she asserts, last. This is a great book to read, consult, and share with peers as well as with vestry, board members, and lay leadership. Only when all of the parties are growing in self awareness and mutual respect, can healthy congregations grow healthier. Pastor Catherine Fransson, Seattle First Baptist Church.[...]