Wayne Cordeiro speaks from experience in this book. When I ordered this book, I knew I was not quite in the place where it would speak directly to my current situation. After reading it, I know that I am not anywhere close to experiencing burnout but this book helped me understand how important balancing your life is. I am glad I read this book and recommend it to any pastor or spiritual leader, or anyone who leads a hectic life. As someone who in the future desires to plant a church if the Lord so leads, this book was a great read and well worth my time.
Wayne jumps right in to this book with his own personal story of burnout which definitely draws the reader in. As you continue to read, Wayne shares story after story of pastors and spiritual leaders who have broken down from high expectations and not maintaining balance in their lives. Pastors many times attempt to be superman to their congregation and yet fail to see the true affect it has on their families and personal lives as well. They feel that since they are in the ministry, that what they are doing is blessed by God and therefore He will give them the strength they need to minister to everyone in their church because that is what a pastor is called to do. However, they fail to realize that this is not the plan God has in mind for any pastor or person in spiritual leadership. Even Moses himself had limits and had to find a way to set in motion a model of leadership over the people of Israel because it was too much for him to handle on his own. If Moses struggled with this, why do so many feel that it does not apply to them?
One of my favorite parts of the book was the challenge to have a personal Sabbath. Christians today have strayed far from this command in the Bible of practicing the Sabbath and it is taking its toll on the church. Christians are constantly going, just like the world, and we feel that if we take a day to rest, we will fall behind. However, having a day of rest is actually one of the best things that a person can do. So often when people get worn down, a doctor will encourage the person to rest. This is the natural way that God set in motion. He knew what we are capable of and He knows our limits, thus God Himself modeled for us a day of rest when after finishing creation, He rested. God did not need to rest but He knew that we do and thus He gave us the example. However, we have far removed ourselves from that day of rest. Families fill their schedules with so much, Bible studies, kid’s soccer games, social events, ministries, etc. These in and of themselves are not bad, but when it takes us away from having time to rest and truly think about God and allow Him to recharge our lives, we head towards burnout. And this is not just in the pastorate either; it is the same with everyone. Too often we choose caffeine over rest to recharge. Yet that just leads us further along towards burnout.
With Leading on Empty, Wayne takes great care to challenge us to look at our lives and take inventory of them. Are we heading down the path towards burnout? If so, what can we do to stop it? What needs more balancing? And many times, that is what it comes down to, finding balance within our busyness and then taking the time to reorder our lives and then live within those priorities. It is hard, especially when “duty calls” but it is necessary. If you are burned out, you have nothing to offer. Wayne Cordeiro does a great job of showing how when a pastor burns out, it affects his life, his family and his ministry. When a pastor is empty himself, how can he fill others and challenge them? A pastor has to lead by example and this in many areas is what this book is about.
I highly recommend this book to any pastor or lay leader within the church and feel that it will be greatly beneficial in helping keep someone from burning out. After reading this book, I personally feel that I am more in a position to ensure that this does not happen within my own life and I feel that anyone who reads this book will feel that way as well.
In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.