Mad Church Disease

There’s a new book that’s been coming for a while that I’m really pumped to get a hold of called “Mad Church Disease.” I mentioned it here a while back when the author, Ann Jackson, was collecting surveys for the data in the book. (I’m in there – we’re all anonymous, but hey, one of those numbers is me!) Now the book is published and being released on February 1 and I’m excited to get a copy.

The book is about the very real “disease” of burn-out that affects nearly every church worker – volunteer or staff – at one point or another. Here’s a little more from Amazon:

From the Back Cover
Growing up the daughter of a pastor, Anne Jackson experienced firsthand the conflict, stress, and struggle church leaders often face. She vowed her life in ministry would be different.

Yet, years later, as a church leader, she was hospitalized because stress began wreaking havoc on her body. After being released from the hospital, an associate pastor asked her, “Does working at this church interfere with your communion with Christ?” The question was paramount in turning her life around.

Thinking she wasn’t alone, Anne developed a website that allowed church leaders to share their struggles. Within a few days, she was flooded with over a thousand responses from people pouring out their stories of burnout.

Using anecdotal parallels between Mad Cow Disease and leadership trends in the church, she writes not only to help us realize what church leaders are facing, but also to provide practical and positive treatment plans.

Mad Church Disease is a lively, informative, and potentially life-saving resource for anyone in ministry—vocational or volunteer—who would like to understand, prevent, or treat the epidemic of burnout in church culture.

From what others who have had the opportunity to preview the book (here, here and here, to name a few), I can’t wait to get a copy and it sounds like something that should be in the hands of everyone who serves in a church.

One of the quotes from an interview with Ann about the book really got my attention. “I was too busy doing things for God instead of spending time being with him.” It resonated with me because, I admit, I’m often guilty of that same crime. I’ve heard it said before (not sure by whom) that “I was so busy doing the work of the Lord that I forgot about the Lord of the work.” It sounds like one of those little pithy sayings we sputter from time to time, but there is too much truth to that statement for comfort. How many times have we relied on our own strength or ability to accomplish something – maybe even something that was truly great and touched many lives for Christ – and we didn’t allow him to be a part of it or ourselves because we were so caught up in what we had to do to make it happen?

I’m happy to say that I don’t believe I’m currently infected with Mad Church Disease, although maybe Ann’s book will point out some symptoms I’m not even aware of! I’m sure it will be great fodder for future posts, so keep an eye out for it.

About Matthew Starner

Matthew Starner is pastor of Journey of Faith Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they help people take their next step on their journey with Jesus.

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