Current Events

Mad Church Disease…Do You Have It?

Jan 13, 2009

One of the things that pastors and church leaders tell others to do is be honest about where they are in life…but very few of us follow our own advice.  AND…when someone steps up and IS honest it usually makes us all quite uncomfortable.

I think one of the things that we, as church leaders, need to be is more real…and that is why I am so thankful that Anne Jackson had the courage to write Mad Church Disease.

WARNING…if you are a church leader who wishes to remain dysfunctional and co-dependent on the affirmation of others then you probably do not need to read this book!  If you “have the spiritual gift of BS” and love to pretend that you have it all together all of the time…DO NOT even entertain reading what she wrote because…

It will convict you…challenge you…but hopefully it will give you permission to seek the help that you desperately need so that you can be more effective in your work for Jesus and His kingdom.
I emailed Anne and asked her, “Why did you write this book?’  Below is her response.  Thanks Anne for being honest…some morons will not like it…but others will be rescued because of it!

Anne’s response to, “Why did you write this book?”


Why did I write this book?  Well, there were a few reasons:

  1. I’M A PREACHER’S KID.  Enough said…Just kidding. Kind of.  Seriously…that has a lot to do with it! :)
  2. WE’RE OUT TO BE DESTROYED – Not to be Debbie Downer here, but John 10:10 says that the enemy is ONLY out to steal, kill and destroy us.  That’s his only mission – to take down the light and hope of the world.  I really think that we don’t take this seriously enough and little by little, he wins.  If we’re not able to love ourselves the way God intended, we can’t love others the way God intended.  Physically, we’re in our worst shape ever…emotionally, it’s so easy to escape when we’re under pressure…relationally, we isolate because we’re afraid…and spiritually, it’s hard to just spend time resting in God’s sovereignty. The stats don’t lie. The average pastor is more unhealthy than the average American and it’s the younger pastors that are doing the worst.  We’re falling apart and we’re falling apart alone. It’s happened to me and it’s happened to so many of my friends.  I’ve read literally thousands of emails of people sharing their stories of burnout with me.  Mad Church Disease truly an epidemic!
  3. WE DON’T TALK ABOUT IT! – Generally speaking, most people in ministry feel like they have to exhibit a professional spiritual front….we pretend we have it all together when in reality, we’re keeping quiet about the areas we’re struggling in.  We feel like we have to have it all together in order to lead, and if we were really honest and maybe even confessed something, we’d lose our jobs or be removed from our positions of leadership.  By keeping our junk inside, we’re operating in our own strength (not to mention we’re sinning!) and we disconnect from our relationship with Christ.  That relationship is necessary to fulfill His purpose in our life (John 15:5).   It’s my hope that this book will challenge people to have conversations they wouldn’t normally have and in the process, get healthy and set examples for others to be healthy.
  4. BUT THERE’S HOPE – Personally, I hit rock bottom in 2005.  I was so stressed out I ended up hospitalized for a week because my abdominal cavity was inflamed.  They couldn’t find one thing causing it though, but stress.  I was so depressed and anxious there were times I couldn’t leave my own bed.  I had pushed my friends and husband away and was losing faith in God.  I finally gave up and got help.  And three years later, after a LOT of counseling, some medication, and intentionally surrounding myself with people who love me (and come after me if I try and run!) I have experienced the hope and the joy that comes with living out God’s purpose in your life.  I am not perfect, I screw up and I’ve been close to burning out a few times…but in the end, I’ve learned about what God intends for sacrifice…and rest…and purpose…and I just feel honored to have this opportunity to share what God’s done through my failure.  It actually takes getting off your arse and doing something though…there’s no magic pill.  But hopefully this book will inspire people to start talking about this…and ultimately, to be healthy enough to love God…and love others!