Christian Ministry Resources
BURNOUT IN CHURCH LEADERS, PREVENTING AND OVERCOMING
Part of the ministry resources on Burnout and Self-Care for Church Leaders.
The following ministry resources focus on understanding, preventing, and overcoming burnout in church leaders. Each resource is listed in alphabetical order unless indicated. Hopefully each is described sufficiently for church leaders to assess the direct value for their situations.
- CLASSICS on Church Leader Burnout and Self-Care
- FIRST READS on Church Leader Burnout and Self-Care
- Other Helpful Resources
- Related Works
- Related Ministy Resources
CLASSICS on Church Leader Burnout and Self-Care
- Seward Hiltner, Ferment in the Ministry – Addresses how some respond to the outward critique of ministry by a “failure of nerve” that acquiesces to pressure. Proposes an unapologetic defense of Christian ministry.
- William H. Willimon, Clergy and Laity Burnout – This was among the first books on the subject, and is still widely recommended. Sensitive, but not soft-pedaling. Suggests the root cause of burnout in church leaders is lack of meaning, and proposes ways of nurturing that meaning.
FIRST READS on Church Leader Burnout and Self-Care
- Anne Jackson, Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic – Excellent reflection on the psychological, spiritual, and professional dimensions of burnout as experienced by those who “work at churches.” Based on feedback from hundreds of wounded church leaders and other members of congregations.
- Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffman, Preventing Ministry Failure: A ShepherdCare Guide for Pastors, Ministers and Other Caregivers - Reflects on realities that lead to involuntary termination. Suggests seven foundations for long-term ministry. Full of exercises, worksheets, inventories, reflections, and conversation guides.
Other Helpful Resources
- Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry – One of the richest developments available on the theme of leadership spiritual formation, which is valuable in times of ministy burnout.
- Dean R. Hoge and Jacqueline E. Wenger, Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry – Explains the seven main reasons pastors leave congregational ministry and suggests ways to prevent departures.
- Fred Lehr, Burnout: Recovering from the 70-hour Week and Other Self-Defeating Practices - Lehr approaches the issue of burnout through the lens of codependency which typically expresses itself among ministers in one of six forms such as chief enabler, scapegoat, etc.
- H. B. London and Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Greater Risk: Real Help for Pastors from Pastors Who’ve Been There, Revised Edition – Discusses unique struggles of ministers and provides helpful coping strategies. Covers some contemporary issues such as moral failure, pornography, and the high turnover rate for ministers.
- Glenn Ludwig, In it for the Long Haul: Building Effective Long-Term Pastorates - Gleans from a carefully selected panel of ministers with long pastorates, discusses the many factors that work together to create tenure.
- Louis M. McBurney, M.D., Every Pastor Needs a Pastor – An older but worthy read to add to the more current resources on burnout, providing a few timeless insights not found elsewhere on psychological and professional dynamics of ministerial burnout.
- Karen A. McClintock, Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations - Not on burnout per se, but an excellent guide to addressing the shame and perfectionism that often contributes to burnout. Discusses how ministers and churches may keep from pushing each other into shame-based patterns.
- Gary R. McIntosh and Robert L. Edmonson, M.D., It Only Hurts on Monday: Why Pastors Quit and What You Can Do About It – One of the most informative guides with helpful insight and workable solutions for pastoral burnout. Good material on why ministers quit.
- Judith A. Schwarz, Blessed Connections: Relationships that Sustain Vital Ministry – Suggests ways for ministers experiencing burnout to renew their primary relationships with self, God, and others.
- Charles Stone, Five Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them: Help for Frustrated Pastors – Including New Research from the Barna Group – Results of a study involving 2,000 pastors. Reveals five potent killers of pastoral vitality and suggests a four-step process for overcoming them.
- Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Leadership That Fits Your Church: What Kind of Pastor for What Kind of Congregation - Probably the largest, most definitive study every conducted on what ministers and churches do to work together effectively. Helps to establish good matches in minister search, and to understand important factors in ministry support systems, self-care and burnout issues.
- Edward D. Bratcher, The Walk-on-Water Syndrome: Dealing With Professional Hazards in Ministry – An older work, good insight on the range of issues contributing to pastoral burnout.
- Ed Dobson, Wayne Gordon, Louis McBurney, Standing Fast: Ministry in an Unfriendly World – Good at addressing the unrealistic demands placed on ministers.
- Pamela Evans, The Overcommitted Christian: How To Serve God Without Wearing Out – Suggests that some who over-extend themselves in service to God may be acting out addictions or seeking to earn their own salvation instead of trusting God.
- Bruce Gordon Epperly and Katherine Gould Epperly, Feed the Fire! Avoiding Clergy Burnout
- Kirk Byron Jones, Rest in the Storm: Self-Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers – A collection of inspiring essays for those feeling discouraged in ministry.
Related Ministry Resources
Related Helps for Church Leaders:
- Christian Leadership for Transition and Change in Church
- Church Administration
- Strategies for Church Leadership, Church Health
- Christian Leadership for Peacemaking and Conflict in Church
- Elders, Plural-Elder Church Leadership
- Christian Counseling and Pastoral Care
- Theology of Mission and Ministry
Other Resources on Christian Leadership Development:
- Christian Leadership Development in Congregations, Theory and Practice
- Christian Leadership Development Through Spiritual Formation
- Christian Leadership Development Through Character Formation
- Christian Leadership Development Through Life Experience
- Christian Leadership Development Through Self-Assessment
- Christian Leadership Development Through Life Effectiveness
- Christian Leadership Development Through Communication Competence
- Christian Leadership Development Through Failure and Setback
- Christian Leadership Development Over Life Span – J. Robert Clinton Leadership Emergence Theory
Other Resources on Christian Leadership:
See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Christian Ministry: