I just finished reading this wonderful book by Wayne Cordeiro entitled “Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion.”
This book came along just in time for me.
After pastoring a church for almost seven years (it will be seven years in September), just finishing up doctoral work at Southern Seminary, and being a dad to four children, I was feeling the onset of burnout –and I’m only 38 years old. This book is one of the most pastoral and practical books you could read on this subject.
Cordeiro shares much on his serious issues that arose from burnout.
It arrived without warning, like an uninvited guest. Decisions that were once simple now refused solution, and I found myself dodging anything that asked for my emotional input. My once stalwart faith was left fragile; I avoided whatever required my action. It was a balmy California evening. I had gone for a job before I was to speak at a leadership conference. I still can’t recall how I got there, but I found myself sitting on a curb, weeping uncontrollably. . . . I knew something had broken inside. I remember lifting my trembling hands and asking out loud, “What in the world is happening to me?”(13)
Cordeiro noted how he had ignored all the warning signs, and finally crashed. And sadly, Cordeiro notes that many pastors fail to seek the warning signs that will lead to their respective crashes as well! He advises that “to finish strong, you must learn to rejuvenate your spirit early in ministry” (33). When early in ministry, young pastors seem to like being needed and always available—but over time this can feel like a prison. Sometimes the expectations placed upon a pastor can become a weight too heavy for some to bear.
Cordeiro’s chapters show how a pastor can systematically deal with these issues by getting alone before God and asking God “to quiet every voice but His own” (37). He gives practical advice on how to minister smarter and better without flaming out! You will be glad you read this book. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.