Tag Archives: Marcuson

Is Transformation Possible?

By Margaret J. Marcuson

I’ve been hearing a lot about “church transformation” lately: many church denominations have transformational initiatives, to help turn around declining congregations. There’s a lot of pressure on clergy leaders to produce results, especially numerical growth. The pressure exists elsewhere, too: a recent survey of CEO turnover by Booz Allen Hamilton found that in 1995 one in eight departing CEOs was forced from office, but by 2006, nearly one in three left involuntarily. (The Oregonian, June 11, 2007). Booz Allen suggests this is performance-related turnover, as corporate boards want to see results in company sales and stock prices. Continue reading Is Transformation Possible?

Playing in Tune

By Margaret J. Marcuson

When I was a teenager I had the opportunity to play in a woodwind quintet for a wedding. It turned out to be a highlight of my musical experience–—my clarinet joining in with the flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn. Each instrument had a key part to play, each different voice forming part of the whole. I had to pay attention to my own part, but also to the blended sound of the group. I found it challenging, and musically and emotionally rich. As psychologist and theorist Murray Bowen noted, humans experience the tension between togetherness and individuality. We want to be part of the group and to be accepted. And we want to be our unique self in the world, different from everyone else. Finding the balance in that tension forms the essence of life’s struggle. Continue reading Playing in Tune

For the Bookshelf: The Gift of the Shiksa

By Margaret J. Marcuson

Let me commend to you the latest of Edwin Friedman’s writings to be reissued by Church Publishing, The Myth of the Shiksa. The book includes a number of other essays beyond the title one, including, “An Interview with the First Family Counselor,” “Secrets and Systems,” and “Metaphors of Salvation,” and a fascinating foreword by Friedman’s daughter, Shira Friedman Bogart, “Growing up Friedman.”

Many of the chapters were published as articles during Friedman’s lifetime, but they have not been collected in book form before. They show Friedman’s characteristic wit, boldness, and ability to see things at a tangent. Continue reading For the Bookshelf: The Gift of the Shiksa

Three Reasons to Love Asking People to Give

By Margaret J. Marcuson

Is your church preparing for your stewardship campaign? Remember this: When you provide leadership in stewardship at church, you do essential work. You help people connect their money and their faith. Both money and faith are part of everyday life, and bringing them together is one of the most vital connections in the spiritual life. It took me a long time to learn this lesson and to embrace this part of ministry

You don’t need to be anxious, defensive about asking people to give. Nor do you need to dread it. In fact, it is possible to learn to love it. Continue reading Three Reasons to Love Asking People to Give

Guest Blogger Margaret Marcuson on Money and Your Ministry

As we try to manage both the flow of money into and out of our churches and our lives, and also our own relationship with that flow, there is a way forward. It isn’t always an easy way. But it is possible to have greater freedom in regard to money and in our relationships with each other about money, to have fewer sleepless nights and wrangling meetings.

We can begin by holding all that we have lightly, accepting the flow. We don’t clasp our hands tightly—whether around our “own” possessions and money, or the building and resources of the congregation or the wider church of which we are a part. Most of us need a lifetime to work on moving toward greater freedom in relation to money and things and the choices we make about them. But we can take a first step from where we are, and begin with what we have been given.

Continue reading Guest Blogger Margaret Marcuson on Money and Your Ministry