Margaret Marcuson / Rev. Margaret Marcuson works with churches that want to create a ministry that lasts and clergy who want more impact on the people they serve best. She is the author of Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry (Seabury, 2009). She served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Massachusetts for thirteen years.
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Help your people relate to money all year long

Stewardship is about far more than one or two Sundays a year. It is not simply supporting the budget. Rather, it is a ministry to help people learn about their relationship to money, and to other ways they can give. Encouraging financial giving to the ministry of the church is ...
June 20, 2014   Margaret Marcuson

Book Review: Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants

Shane Stanford and R. Brad Martin have written a helpful book in Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants. Stanford and Martin use the story of David and Goliath (one of my favorites) to talk about the challenges of life and how to move forward. (Note: I received a copy of this ...
April 02, 2014   Margaret Marcuson

Have you given your presence?

This time of year we often recognize staff and key volunteer leaders with gifts, as well as holiday gatherings. But one gift costs you nothing except your time: the gift of your presence. Those you lead need you to be present with them. When things are more difficult, when a ...
December 12, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Giving thanks: a spiritual experiment

We can shift our relationship with money through practicing gratitude. In church life, a focus on celebration, gratitude and abundance begins with the leader. We can cultivate gratitude daily, and what better time than Thanksgiving to remind ourselves of this practice? When you look, you may see more than you ...
November 26, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Five reasons to celebrate All Saints Day all year

Who are the saints who contributed to your life and to your church? There’s never a bad time to celebrate the saints of the past. Many evangelical churches never celebrate All Saints Day. It's November 1 and today is November 13, so many of us have missed it completely. But ...
November 14, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Are there spooks in your church?

It’s Halloween, and I’m thinking about church spooks. No, not ghosts, exactly. I don’t really think churches are literally haunted. But sometimes the ghosts of the past are present in the life of a congregation. A few examples: A founding pastor who didn’t work out well. A powerful treasurer who ...
October 31, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Four secrets for enjoying your stewardship campaign

Are you in the middle of your annual stewardship campaign? Are you having a good time? Sometimes budget woes, a history of conflict about money, or a pastor’s reluctance to ask people to give can make this time of year a little grim. Or the busyness of the fall start-up ...
October 23, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

What books help you spiritually with your leadership?

I’m a fast reader and tend to swallow books whole. But I like to have one book on spiritual matters which I read slowly, a few pages a day, at the end of my prayer time each morning. Here are a few books I’ve found helpful recently and over the ...
October 03, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Ten ways for church leaders to lead like Winston Churchill

Are you facing some difficulties at church lately? Whether your challenges are internal or external, you can learn something from Winston Churchill. He was Prime Minister of Britain through World War II, and led his country through terrifying bombing and the threat of invasion. Here are ten ways that I ...
September 21, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Six tips for relating to church musicians

Here are six tips for pastors for dealing with music and music staff in the life of the church:  Hire musicians who are as emotionally mature as possible. Talent is important, but the ability to work with others and be supervised by someone is at least as critical Coach the ...
August 10, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Seven tips to enjoy ministry in August

Here are seven quick tips to enjoy these last weeks before the fall ministry deluge. Take your vacation. If you’ve had your vacation, do something small but vacation-like every week (or every day!). Do something every week to plan for 2013-2014. If you’ve made your plans, do something you’ll enjoy ...
August 04, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Have you made the same mistakes about church finance that I made?

I've been thinking about the mistakes I made about money when I was a pastor. Here are ten. Being afraid to talk about money. Early in my ministry this was the area I struggled with most. I was anxious about stewardship and the budget process, and avoided money talk when ...
July 25, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Nine ways to work on connecting with church members in the summertime

Leadership depends on relationships. Summer may be a bit less busy for ministry tasks and meetings. Why not take that time not only to plan for the fall but also to build relationships? Here are ten things to try: Show up at the summer children’s program, even if you aren’t ...
July 03, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Talking about church stewardship all year long

What if churches engaged in a practice of year-round stewardship education and promotion? A little emphasis year round, rather than a few weeks once a year can help people grow in faith as they relate to their resources—and help develop greater support for the ministry of the church in the ...
June 21, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Book review: Just Lead! A No Whining, No Complaining, No Nonsense Practical Guide for Women Leaders in the Church

Sherry Surratt and Jenni Catron in Just Lead! A No Whining, No Complaining, No Nonsense Practical Guide for Women Leaders in the Church have written a frank and down-to-earth guide for women leaders. (Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an impartial review.) Their context ...
June 15, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Is ministry like taking a test?

Recently, I visited my friend and colleague, Meg Hess.  Her daughter, Keziah, has on the refrigerator a list of “Test Taking Tips” left over from elementary school.  I love tips, and I thought these might actually apply to pastoral ministry more than you might expect. Here they are: Test Taking ...
June 05, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Facing Financial Facts at Church

What are the financial facts in your congregation? For example: What are the trends in giving and expenses? What is the giving pyramid – how many givers do you have at successive giving levels? What is the pace of income through the year – what percentage comes in during December ...
May 21, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

Fasting from complaining: 9 reasons why church leaders might want to try it

The weeks between Easter and Pentecost are more of a time for church leaders to celebrate than fast. But I’m thinking about fasting as a spiritual practice. While fasting from food has its place, I think a fast from complaining is worth a try. I’m committing to it. Here are ...
May 08, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

What I learned from my father about ministry

I wrote an article after my mother died about what I’d learned from her that had benefited me in my ministry. My father turned 90 on Sunday, and I decided I’d like to think about this before he dies (though he’s seems to be going strong). To engage with people. ...
May 02, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

5 Church Leadership Mistakes You Might Be Making

How do you know when to take a stand and when to let things go? Here are five common mistakes, and some questions to think about. Avoiding telling people what you think because they might not like it. Of course, you need to assess timing and appropriateness. But I find ...
April 09, 2013   Margaret Marcuson

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