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July 14, 2022

Burnout and Beyond is Finally Here!


Featured image for “Burnout and Beyond is Finally Here!”

I am so excited to finally share the release of my book Burnout and Beyond! It has been a lot of hard work over the last year, but finally, I can tell the story of my burnout, my recovery and how the experience has changed me forever. I hope that my journey will resonate with others and guide those in burnout towards wellness and resilience. For those who have avoided burnout, this book can be a tool for helping those around you and preventing burnout in the future. 

Today, I want to share the delightful foreword my friend Chris Adams wrote for the book:

“It was my first time going to church camp as a High School student. I had the time of my life and made some important spiritual decisions at that camp, including solidifying a call to vocational ministry. I also learned that one of the highlights of camp was to sneak out of our cabin at night and run around the campground. It was a bit of a game to get chased by the youth pastors and counsellors. So, not wanting to be left out of the fun, I snuck out of the cabin with some buddies. None of us had been to the campground before. We were sprinting across the campground in the dark, feeling invincible.

What we did not know was that there were waist-high posts about every five feet, lining the main drive through the camp…and in between the posts was a thin, metal wire. One of my friends and I were out in front of the group running full speed when our legs hit the wire. We were thrown back several feet in the air by the collision and laid there simultaneously in shock, laughing at the comedic value of the moment and also in pain. Our friends who were behind us were laughing as well and told us that we looked like we ran into some kind of invisible forcefield. Slightly injured, we recovered and kept running.

As we ran back to the cabin, we also did not see a black clothesline in the dark. Four of us simultaneously caught the clothesline at face level and were laid out on our backs. I now had injured legs and a fat lip because I did not know about the hidden dangers and did not bother to ask anyone who had snuck out of the cabin before—I kept on going anyway. You have the blessing of learning from someone who knows the hidden hazards of ministry as you read this book.

Through research and clinical work, I have heard countless pastors say something like, “I was blindsided…It hit me out of nowhere…I didn’t see it coming.” There is something about the insidious nature and onset of burnout that is such that it hides from the ministry leader. The truth is that burnout can accumulate outside our awareness, becoming suddenly apparent when it hits a threshold of severity. Burnout can even happen when things are going well in ministry. This all-too-common phenomenon is why I am so excited about this resource. 

“Pastors don’t get into difficulty because they forget that they are pastors, but because they forget that they are persons”.

This is perhaps my favourite quote from my dear friend and mentor, the late Dr Archibald Hart. He was one of the first psychologists to systematically research clergy stress and burnout and work with pastors to prevent severe cases. After co-teaching with him late in his career, I was privileged to have inherited his course in the Doctor of Ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary. The course, “The Personal Life of the Leader”, is the longest-running course in the history of Fuller’s DMin program. Alums often return multiple times to repeat the course as they encounter stress throughout their ministry careers. Dr Hart was decades ahead of his time, as more current research only underscores and validates his intuition starting in the 1970s and 1980s. The insights from this trajectory of scholarship are included in the pages of this helpful book.

It was through teaching Dr Hart’s course that I met Dr Don Easton.

As Don and I spent some time together both in class and outside of class, I learned about the compelling story that he shares in this wonderful resource. I was struck by the depth of Don’s authenticity, which research demonstrates is a key dimension of flourishing in ministry. He has truly lived the journey through burnout and beyond and is allowing God to redeem the painful chapters of his own story by becoming equipped to lead and support other pastors. Don has done the difficult, personal work of recovery and has created a sustainable rhythm to avoid repeating burnout in his own life. He has also done the hard work of research and professional growth to become a leading voice in his culture and times. Don has years of rich experience in leading other clergy into healthier, sustainable rhythms.

Like all great pastors, Don has synthesized complex scholarship, life and ministry leadership experience, and Biblical and theological principles to create a contextualized, practical resource accessible to all. This resource is especially timely given the impact of ministry stress during the global pandemic and whatever the new normal looks like for clergy. Don artfully dispels some of the common myths of ministry burnout and provides invaluable insights and practical advice that can keep pastors from being blindsided and impaired. May our Lord Jesus Christ restore the joy of your salvation and the joy of ministry as you implement the recommended practices in the pages that follow.

Sincerely,

Rev. Christopher J. Adams, PhD.”

Chris Adams, recently completed 8 years as the associate campus pastor for pastoral care at APU, and is serving as executive director of the Center for Vocational Ministry, which focuses on cultivating resilience in ministry leaders and students through research and formational resources. He also teaches ministry leadership and pastoral care/counseling courses in Azusa Pacific Seminary. Adams is a consultant to a number of denominations and seminaries in the areas of clergy candidate assessment, clergy health, and pastoral leadership formation, and is participating as a consultant, researcher, and writer with the Duke Clergy Health Initiative, Profiles in Ministry Project for the Association of Theological Schools, and the Flourishing In Ministry project at the University of Notre Dame. Adams is also a frequent lecturer at seminaries, retreats, and conferences.

You can order your copy of Burnout And Beyond right here!

Burnout and Beyond 

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