Sunday, November 08, 2009

Book Review: Mad Church Disease


Book title: Mad Church Disease
Author: Anne Jackson
Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2009
Number of pages: 190

Love Hurts, yeah, yeah (love hurts) says the J. Giles Band, and according to Anne Jackson, so does ministry. Having been in vocational ministry for fifteen plus years, I'd have to agree with both J. Giles (whoever he is) and Anne Jackson.

Jackson's book deals with burnout in ministry, particularly in full-time church work. Ideally, working on a church staff should be the safest place in the world to work. But one soon discovers that there are super-sized egos, personal agendas, micro-mis-managers, political maneuverings and mis-matched expectations at every turn. It shouldn't be this way, but it is. Every ministry has all or at least some of these to some extent sparking fires.

Jackson concludes that ministry burnout is a disease. Like swine flu ravaging passengers on an airplane, Mad Church Disease is an epidemic running unchecked in churches all across the country. Sadly, victims of burnout look for comfort and relief in sin rather than God or his people.

Studies and statistics abound in Jackson's book, as does wise advice from experienced ministers and ministry leaders. Grace also abounds for burnouts. And Jackson puts together some great exercises and discussion starters for those who are serious about overcoming the seemingly insurmountable challenges of ministry for the purpose of productively serving and loving God's people and equipping them for the work of the ministry.

Jackson presents her argument well. In fact, she's inspires the serious reader to take a personal inventory and responsibility for the way he or she works for the Lord and serves in church.

Jackson does a phenomenal job of recruiting well known pastors to punctuate each chapter's main point. In this book the reader hears from heavy hitters like Bill Hybels, Perry Noble, and Wayne Cordiero just to name a few.

If you work on a church staff, worked on a church staff, or want to work on a church staff, pick up this book. It helps put things in perspective. It will cause you to take off the rose-colored glasses. And it will help you to have a healthy and balanced approach to ministry.

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