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Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic [Hardcover]

By Anne Jackson (Author)
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Item Number 192363  
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Item description for Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson...

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 churches. The book draws on research and interviews with leaders from across the United States, providing statistics, stories, and hope for healing.

Publishers Description
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.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   190
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2009
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310287553  
ISBN13  9780310287551  
UPC  025986287559  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Ministry

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Ministry Resources > General
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Mad Church Disease?

A must read for anyone in ministry  Apr 16, 2010

"Does working at this church interfere with your communion with Christ?"

This question was posed to Anne Jackson following her hospitalization due to stress and burn-out. As a full-time ministry leader she identified with Bill Hybel's statement: "the way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in my life."

"Burnout is a disease nobody talks about until it's too late. Statistics and stories prove that the health of those serving in ministry is declining - spiritually, physically, emotionally and relationally." (Mad Church Disease, Anne Jackson)

I've been following Anne Jackson (flowerdust) on Twitter for a while now. I didn't even know she'd written a book. Then I heard about Mad Church Disease and wanted to read it, even though I had no idea what the book was about. The title intrigued me. I added it to my "to read" list for my 2010 Book Reading Challenge and hoped I'd get to buy it soon. Imagine my joy a few days later when Anne posted on her blog that they were offering the Kindle edition for free, one day only. I jumped over to this site and downloaded it to my iPhone.

{What's included}

Anne Jackson shares not only her experiences in full-time ministry, but utilizes the experiences of other Christian leaders to emphasis her point. Additionally, at the end of certain chapters there is a section called "Exam Room." Here Jackson presents questions which are great for doing a self-exam on your well-being. She encourages her readers to write down their answers to these questions and discuss them with others.

{What I Liked}

* Anne Jackson has a way of presenting a topic where you feel like it's fully covered, but you're not bogged down in the details. She writes with humor, but it's obvious this is a serious topic to her.
* The interview portions of the book provide a "second opinion" on the topic. Through Anne's discussions with prominent church leaders you gain an insight into how they deal with burn-out.
* The "Exam Room" questions aren't fluff. If used properly, they can provide insight into where you are on the road to burn-out.

{What I Didn't Like}

* Umm...honestly, I can't think of anything. I really enjoyed this book!


"The fear of letting people down, especially in spiritual matters, can often cause us to feel obligated or pressured into meeting unrealistic expectations, or worse, spending more time doing things for God instead of being what God wants us to be. That can lead to serious stress." (Mad Church Disease, Anne Jackson)

I would recommend this book to anyone who serves in ministry in any capacity: full-time paid staff to occasional lay volunteer. Actually, I find that this correlates to non-ministry situations as well.

In one of her interviews, Anne Jackson presents this quote from Mike Foster (founder of [&]: "If I find myself losing my patience with people quickly and my thoughts become negative toward friends and family, or I find myself withdrawing from relationships, this means I've entered a danger zone."

As I person who's served in ministry, I identify with this. As a stay-at-home mom, as a wife, as a student...I identify with this. Burn-out is something that can happen in a person's life regardless of what vocation they assume. I recommend that you read this book to identify the specific decisions that you have already made in life where Satan could step in and derail the plan God has for you.
NEEDED and LOVED this BOOK  Mar 20, 2010
Lucked out-got this book FREE on kindle so downloaded 'just for the heck of it' WHAT a surprise-this book talked to me, I couldn't put it down. It is a must read for everyone of the faith-got me back to church and service!
Read this book and save your life. Seriously.  Mar 2, 2010
Read this book and save your life.


I have seen far too many good people get burned-out in the most unlikely place. The one place where you would expect wholeness and vitality and safety and health: Church! In Mad Church Disease Anne Jackson draws the comparison to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (better known as mad cow disease) to confront mad church disease head-on.

Here's the insidious thing about the way mad cow disease spreads: after infected cows die, they are ground up and fed to healthy cows. So unwittingly the disease is perpetuated because no one recognizes it's there. Sadly that's what happens far too often in the church. We have developed cultures that continue to burn-out people, and then we let those burned-out people feed (develop) new people
Anne shines the light of truth on this ugly disease. She confronts the symptoms head-on, and offers practical steps for helping people get healthy.

As someone who came very close to betting burned-out by mad church disease, I can attest how right-on-the-mark Anne's book is. And to bolster her diagnosis, Anne interviews several leading pastors whose "second opinion" confirm the original diagnosis. I liked this observation from Bill Hybels -

"Especially as leaders in the church, we consistently need to be filled up and buoyed in our spirits because everybody takes their cue from the leader. If the leader is exhausted, then the people following that leader will feel exhausted. If the leader is wearing thin on hope, then people start losing hope too. If the leader gets pessimistic, everybody gets pessimistic."

So who should read Mad Church Disease?
* Pastors
* Paid church staff
* Volunteer church ministers
* Counselors
* Church board members

Whether you had been infected by mad church disease or not, you need to read this book. It will either be a source of healing for you, or an eye-opener to help protect yourself and others around you from this deadly disease.

The first step to eliminating mad church disease is recognizing its symptoms. Mad Church Disease does just that, and then goes further to talk about the steps for healing. Thanks, Anne, for a straightforward look at this serious disease.
Very good read!!  Feb 18, 2010
I could not put this book down from page one to the end. The author did a wonderful job at making everything she experenced so real. She put a name and picture to what many of us have felt or may be feeling. But she also reminded us that it is All About Him and nothing to do with us.
I wish all pastors, ministers would read this.....  Feb 5, 2010
This was a great book by first time author Anne Jackson, and it's one that I wish had been available earlier in my ministry career before I found myself on the path of burnout. As a former full-time pastor and now full-time marriage and family therapist I really appreciated the book because I thought Anne captured both issues of spirituality and ministry, as well as practical mental health tips.

One of the reasons I think the book is so powerful (not just because she's a great storyteller), is because her four parts of health (physical, spiritual, emotional, relational), etc. I found to be very easy to recall and super helpful if one wants to take seriously a path to avoid burnout. The exercises, information and tips that she provides in the book is something that a lot of books lack. Often you get a lot of philosophical ideas, without much help on how to work at it, or to solve a problem.

We live in a culture, especially in Evangelical Christianity that almost gets excited about how many hours one can work in a week, or how many meetings one can attend...or how hard one can push themselves. But finally someone in this culture had the courage to stand up and not only share her own story, but to say enough is enough.

I think Anne's book will be the first of many on this topic, and directed at our unhealthy evangelical culture of burnout.

I had the chance to interview Anne last summer on this topic and issues surrounding it. You can check them out here:



Rhett Smith

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