It’s sad to me how often you hear about pastors burning out and getting out of ministry. It seems to happen way to often, and makes me suspicious that the way pastors are pastoring is broken. I’m not looking to place blame (on pastors, on congregations, or on culture); what I hope for my life, and for others, is to find a way of living as a pastor that doesn’t destroy you.
So, I picked up Wayne Codeiro’s book, Leading on Empty: Refilling your tank and Renewing your passion as a part of this quest. Of course, as the lead pastor of a church plant I am conscious of burn out because of the long hours and high intensity of the work, so I wondered if I am in danger of burning out. Thankfully, I got more depressed reading the book. It describes some really sad stuff, that isn’t me, but gives some really good indicators of when you need to check your pastoral health.
Codeiro also writes on the importance of sabbaticals in pastoral ministry – not so that the pastor can have a break, but actually so that the church can enjoy more effective ministry. It’s something I’ve had inklings of for a long time and Codeiro really gave some good thought to it. I’d recommend this book to young pastors, even before they are in danger (perhaps 2 years into ministry) and to experienced pastors who find themselves joyless in ministry.
Here’s some great stuff I found,
- p.21, “It is a gift to be able to launch an inspiring vision. But unless you manage it along the way, it can turn on you, and soon the voracious appetite of the vision consumes you.”
- Psalm 69:1,2
- p.91, A really helpful section on balancing the things that fill my tank and the things that drain my tank. Really this exercise is already making a difference in my life.
- p.154, In 1 Kings 4:4-5, Solomon actually made official the office of a friend. As he appointed his cabinet, he added one more office: ‘Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the army; and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; and Azariah the son of Nathan was over the deputies; and Zabud the son of Nathan, a priest, was the king’s friend.’