In November, I won a book that I was to read & review named Mad Church Disease -- Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic. The author Anne Jackson has a blog @ flowerdust.net
Although the book was specifically for people blessed to be serving in ministry, it really was applicable to me as I continue on my walk with God. I am not on staff at any church and have never been in a formal ministry role anywhere - but as we walk & grow with God we are all in ministry. To me, it was a great reminder about balance and remembering who it is that gives us our value. The book was an easy read but the material was challenging. What I enjoyed most about Anne's writing was her heart and her love for the Body of Christ that clearly showed through. It was refreshing to read & believe her words stating she would "never give up on the church".
It was eye-opening for me to see what many church leaders across the nation have to go through. It really showed me how much I need to increase my prayer, mercy & patience with those in ministry around me. The statistics on pastors & their daily lives, prayer lives, etc.... was astonishing and really quite disturbing. It made me want to do anything I could to help those in ministry around me.
Though the book spoke of many issues & past negative experiences she and others encountered while in ministry - it was not a book full of bitterness, resentment & a generally negative tone which would have really turned me off. The chapters that were most impactful to me as I move into more in-depth church roles were the chapters examining the risk factors & symptoms of Mad Church Disease. I also loved the chart of self-righteous service vs. true service.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
Since I had allowed spending time with God to be replaced by spending time doing things for God, my spiritual tank had been sucked dry.
The fear of letting people down, especially in spiritual matters, can often cause us to feel obligated or pressured into meeting unrealistic expectations, or worse, spending more time doing things for God instead of being what God wants us to be.
A healthy environment is formed in the spirit of true humility. Humility that causes us to want to step out of the spotlight and take ourselves out of the picture. Humility that makes us desire to sacrifice our own need for affirmation and acknowledgement and to bring fame and glory only to the One who made us. Humility that not only puts God first but puts others in front of us as well.
Thanks Anne for sharing your heart. I really did enjoy the book! :)