Ministry burnout is a very real and a serious threat to ministry leaders today. The Schaeffer Institute’s [http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=36562] research paints a disturbing picture: 50 percent of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. Over 1,700 pastors leave the ministry every month. 70 percent of pastors constantly fight depression. 80 percent of pastors believe that pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
Having personally experienced burnout as a ministry leader, I can tell you it’s not only harmful to ourselves, but also to our families and especially to those who we are ministering to. In Measuring Of Our Success An Impassioned Plea to Pastors Pastor Shawn Lovejoy writes to address Pastors and ministry leaders of the dangers of ministry burnout and how to overcome it. This book is a brutally honest, transparent, yet encouraging book that calls Pastors back to measuring our success as ministry leaders the way God does. Using Scripture, personal examples, and practical insights, Lovejoy leads us back to our first love and, in doing so, toward a more effective and healthy ministry.
Dr. John MacArthur once said that ministry leaders should focus on the depth of their ministry and leave the breadth of their ministry to God. If you’re like me and struggled in the past or perhaps even right now with focusing on attendance, blog readership, buildings, budgets or other things, I encourage you to read this book. The problem with focusing on numbers and other things is that it takes our attention off of who we are in Christ now. The author calls these standards I’ve mentioned “idols of the heart” (27). He continues explaining “they are the very roots of sin and idol worship in our lives. We who lead and model the way must repent. Daily. We of all people must treat down the idols in our hearts and lives. We need to find a new standard of measurement. We must live for an audience of one. I am with you on the journey. I know these idols well, because these are the same idols that creep into my life and heart continually. On this journey, we will repent together. We will get honest with God and each other, and we will ask God to help us rediscover his measure of success” (27).
The Measure of Our Success by Pastor Shawn Lovejoy will help those fresh out of seminary or Bible college as well as those who have been in ministry a long time to not only to address the idols of their hearts, but to apply the Gospel to all of our lives. I recommend The Measure of Our Success because the author writes not as an expert, but rather as one who has experienced burnout, and seeks to walk alongside of his readers and help them learn from his failures with the Gospel.
Authors: Shawn Lovejoy
Publisher: Baker (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Baker Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”