Pastor and professor David Murray has become all too familiar with the phenomenon of pastoral burn-out. In addition to his own seasons of burn-out, Murray has spent years counseling pastors and church leaders through these difficult times. Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture is Murray’s effort to expose, restore, and prevent ministerial burn-out.

If your idea of biblical counseling is strictly expositional, this book will leave you wanting. Murray’s stated aim is to follow in the pattern of John Calvin who recommends that the Bible be the spectacle through which the Christian might read the world around him. In this vein, the book is highly Christian. Reset is a wonderful blending of Biblical truths, scientific studies, and personal observation. Murray’s theological agenda is to call out those who do the work of God as if they themselves would have no need for God.

With this as the thread running through the entire text, Murray walks his readers through a series of “repair bays.” Each bay serves a specific role of personal examination and guides the reader through a systematic reconstruction of a healthy balance of work and rest.

Many pastors church leaders will be tempted to see this as a good resource to shelve for that moment when a lay leader or colleague find themselves on hard times. Books such as these normally come with the disclaimer, “I haven’t read it myself, but I have heard good things about it.” Keeping this tendency in mind, allow me to recommend to you four profiles of a church leader who will benefit from this book.

First, those currently battling burn-out. Murray’s repair bays are the process by which he counsels ministerial leaders through burn-out. With such thorough explanations of the what-to-dos and whys, the contents of this book are second only to accessing Murray himself.

You may also know someone whose life is running at an unsustainable pace. The repair bays in Reset provide multiple diagnostic tests that will help identify harmful behaviors in hopes of preventing an unnecessary crash.

Once burn-out and recovery has occurred, new patterns of life need to be established. Murray addresses this by explaining what healthy boundaries look like. He does this primarily by developing in his reader an appreciation for appropriate and effective accountability structures. 

Finally, there will be those who are carrying on quite nicely. Murray reminds us that an overloaded schedule doesn’t happen overnight. It slowly creeps in on us disguised as meaningful opportunity. While we sit blissfully unaware, these opportunities can grow into burdens that lead to burnout. The tools provided in this book can also function well as preventative maintenance. What better way to deal with burn-out than to avoid it altogether?

In the end, you need this book. I not only recommend that you buy it, but I also recommend that you buy two. The first is for your shelf of give-away books; the second is for you.