Monday, May 18, 2009

Are You Mad?

I ventured into the whole world of blogging because my friend, Jamie, told me about someone she heard speak at Catalyst 2008. Her name is Anne Jackson and she wrote a book called “Mad Church Disease” about overcoming the burnout epidemic, specifically the burnout epidemic in church and full-time ministry. I read her blog, a sample chapter of her book and thought, “Oh my stars, here is someone who KNOWS me!”

So I started following her blog and reading some of her older posts and I read a post titled, “Attend Catalyst For Free!” Well after all of the great and WONDERFUL things I heard about the 2008 conference, I thought, SIGN ME UP!! So I followed the instructions on what to do (which entailed emailing someone who works for her publisher) and OH YEAH – I am a Dork (and yes, that is with a capital D!). Ya see… it was an OLD post and it was for the 2008 conference… and well… yeah… ok… Dork.

BUT the nice person at Zondervan asked if they sent me a FREE copy of the book (which had just been released) would I read it and post a review on Well… let me think about it… YES!!!

So they sent it.

I read it.

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t write the review. Nearly every single part of that book SCREAMED to me. It was as if Anne lived my life and was writing about it. The details were different, but the experiences were the same. The burnout was the same. The guilt, the shame, the despair, all of it – Anne Jackson wrote a book just for me.

So, without further adieu, here is the review I had promised to write a few months ago. If you have EVER worked either as a volunteer or in a paid position for any sort of ministry (church and non-church) read this book.

And Jeanne, if you’re reading this – I’m sending you my copy this week.

Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic is more than a book about Anne Jackson’s experience with her own struggles and it’s more than a book about how to deal with burnout, it was, for me, a realization that what I went through, all my experiences, all my tears, were not just because I wasn’t good enough.

My experiences in full-time ministry weren’t unique, NOR were they awful. I was an imperfect person working for imperfect people and I failed them as much as they failed me. This book helped me realize that and it helped me forgive myself for all my short-comings.

I think anyone, be it a volunteer or paid staff who is working in ministry should be given a copy of this book on their 1st day or right away. It should be required reading at every Christian school, every missions agency and every church.

If possible I would give this book to every friend I have and nigh and unto demand that they read it. For now I’ll settle for blogging about it, talking about it and FINALLY dealing with it.

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