Do you feel like something is missing in your experience of ministry?
Are you facing the complicated challenge of navigating church change in a time of high anxiety?
Have your best efforts at leading change been derailed by a powerful status quo?
Did you enter your ministry with great energy and hope, only to face a bewildering set of expectations, conflicting demands and and unwritten rules?
Do you wonder how to apply the convictions of your calling to day to day decisions and tasks?
Do you wonder how to lead and manage your staff?
If so, here’s a way to learn what every minister needs to know, in conversation with mature and motivated peers:
Why helping is overrated
How to have a longer-lasting ministry without burning out.
When to focus on your vision for ministry–and when to let it go.
How to prepare yourself and your people for the future of church (without wearing yourself out in the process).
How to handle a staff member who is underperforming or overstepping.
How to talk about and ask for money.
Finally, why who you are is more important than the latest technique in helping your church move into the future.
Ministry Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely and Challenging: Why I Started the Roundtable
When I was a pastor, I was conflict-averse, to put it mildly. After preaching one Sunday, I had a man come after me who was extremely upset about a sermon I had preached. I had no idea how to handle the situation, and I walked away upset and anxious.
I knew I wanted to do some work to become a stronger leader, someone who was less intimidated as matters like these arose, so I got some coaching. It transformed my ministry and helped me to deal with that difficult situation in my church, and others that followed.
This transformational experience lead me to offer this service to others: a place to meet with like-minded leaders. Join our roundtable.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
– Jim Rohn
Why Group Coaching Can Help
You may have been a clergy leader for years–you know what you’re doing, and you’re doing a great job of leading your church. But you could use some support to manage your ministry with more grace, more joy, and more freedom.
Being part of a group of thoughtful clergy helped me to reflect and feel more equipped to lead. It gave me colleagues who understood the unique difficulties of ministry life, and it helped me step confidently into challenging church situations.
It can do the same for you.
Gathering with other experienced ministers can help you manage your biggest ministry challenges, learn more about church leadership, and get support and encouragement from mature and motivated church leaders.
Margaret Marcuson brings a wealth of expertise to the Clergy Leadership Roundtables. I gained some new insights into ministry and myself in the very first session, and I was surprised by how well the online platform works for group conversation about ministry. I highly recommend you join one of the next Roundtable groups.
Rev. Margaret Lewis – Pastor, First Baptist Church, Nashua, New Hampshire
What are the Clergy Leadership Roundtables?
The Roundtable is a group learning experience, designed to generate your (and your colleagues’) best thinking about ministry. It’s different from an online course or a support group, but combines elements of both.
It can be hard to find the time to travel to connect with others. I’ve created the Roundtable groups as a way for people to make connections and troubleshoot their problems with others who really get it.
The Clergy Leadership Roundtables surround you with motivated ministers who appreciate the value of growing alongside others – professionals, just like you who want to bring their best selves to their ministry.
This is not a ministers’ gripe session. It’s a focused opportunity to do solid work on critical issues. You’ll walk away with new ideas and a fresh way of thinking about yourself and your ministry. Plus, you’ll gain four new colleagues!
My ministry challenges seem to be the same time and time again: over functioning, poor boundaries, blind spots. I often attempt to “fix” situations and find solutions.
Margaret was recommended to me by our Executive Presbyter as a Clergy Coach. I had learned more about family systems theory and its application to the life of a congregation. I wanted to find others doing similar work so that I could have a better perspective on my own work and how I might do it in a healthier manner.
Since joining the Clergy Leadership Roundtable, I’m learning to stay in my lane! I’m trying to “dial back” my functioning so that others can function up; I’m stepping back with my “lab coat on” and eyeing situations with curiosity.
I would encourage my colleagues to join because it is a fantastic way to learn in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. I’m becoming a healthier pastor, I see my challenges as ongoing work, and I am glad to have a group to help me do that work.”
Rev. Dr. Tammy Stampfli – Co-Pastor, The United Churches of Olympia (WA)
Real Results That Improve Your Life, Ministry, and Congregation
Roundtable groups are known to catapult results in their members, which is why they are so common in the business world. But their power takes on a whole new level when ministerial leaders gather to diligently focus on improving their lives and their churches. Joining a Clergy Leadership Roundtable will help you to:
- Solve (or at least manage) ministry problems, so that you feel less burdened day to day.
- Learn new approaches to ongoing and unexpected challenges so that you know what to do next.
- Connect with mature and motivated colleagues so you have a sense of increased support in your ministry.
- Stay on track with ministry and personal goals, despite all the distractions and to-dos so you can make progress.
You’ll get accountability, action, and encouragement. You’ll have an opportunity to brainstorm someone else’s challenges, and receive feedback and ideas on your own. You’ll be more motivated to plan and follow-through on making your ministry goals a reality.
It’s not a support group per se, but you will receive encouragement and support from your colleagues.
I found that the composition of this group — a gathering of like-minded clergy from different denominations and destinations — created a safe space that was both intimate and anonymous, meaning that I was able to share openly my concerns of my congregation without breaking confidentiality since the members of the group did not know my congregants.
Rev. Rose Ann Vita – Interim Pastor, Emmanuel United Church, Brampton, Ontario
How Does a Roundtable Work?
The Clergy Leadership Roundtable is a 6-month program where members meet once a month via Zoom (video conference calling software).
Sessions last 90-minutes, and include teaching about systems theory, and church leadership, as well as time for sharing and getting support from your colleagues. During each session, one member will have an opportunity to present a specific situation they want support, brainstorming, and feedback from the me, and from group.
Groups are made up of 4-6 experienced ministers, who are carefully vetted through an application process.
How Much Is the Clergy Leadership Roundtable?
The 6-month program is an investment of $750. Group coaching is an affordable way to get vital support in your ministry, and is a key form of continued professional development for church leaders.
New groups start in November. Membership for upcoming groups is by application only.
How Do I Join?
Your first step is applying today. You don’t have to pay a dime. When you apply, you’ll schedule a conversation with me – everyone goes through this process to make sure the groups are cohesive and productive.
The ongoing opportunity of the Clergy Leadership Roundtable provided me with regular reflection on ministry and life situations. Gathering over time and distance via video conferencing and using the prism that Bowen Family Systems Theory provides, Margaret Marcuson conducted the group so that I was mentored. I looked forward to each gathering, even if I had a difficult matter to present. I would recommend the Clergy Leadership Roundtable to be of great assistance for any person in ministry leadership.
Rev. Joel Alvis – Interim Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Columbus, GA
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a session really look like?
That’s a great question, and instead of trying to write it out – I’d rather show you! Check out this mini-session with some amazing colleagues.
What if I have to miss a meeting?
If you have to miss one of the meetings out of the six, you can schedule a 30-minute individual session with me.
How are you defining an “Experienced Minister?”
A minister who’s been leading for at least 5 years.
What topics are we going to discuss?
Each session I’ll share briefly some of my best ideas on church leadership, money, ministry relationships, productivity, personal growth and communication. Then we’ll discuss the topics that YOU find most relevant as you share what’s up in your ministry and where you need thoughtful support. I’ll bring a systems perspective to my teaching and coaching you through your case.
Is there homework?
I’ll suggest a brief reading from the book Leadership in Ministry before each session. If you are presenting a case you will need to send out one page describing it at least one day before our meeting. I’ll give you a format to use. For the rest of the group, you will need to read the case before we meet.
Can you ensure confidentiality?
I will ask each group member to make a commitment to confidentiality before the groups begin. I cannot guarantee confidentiality because this is a virtual group with multiple members in the group. Sharing inside the group is encouraged and each individual is in control of what they feel comfortable sharing.
Do we get a recording of the groups?
I will record the case study portion of the group and share it with the individual who presented the case. This way, as you’re discussing your situation, you can stay present and don’t have to worry about taking notes or writing down all the ideas.
What’s the application process like?
It’s an online form that asks a few questions about your ministry context, your hopes for your ministry and what you want to get from the group. From there, you’ll schedule a time to talk with me where I review the details and you get to ask any questions. We’ll each get a feel for each other to make sure it’s a good fit.
When will we know if our application is accepted?
I will let you know by email, usually within 36 hours of our call.
I’m new to ministry. Will you run another type of roundtable in the future?
I hope to! I love this format and I look forward to creating more offerings. If you have an idea of a roundtable you’d like me to lead – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.