BEATING BURNOUT by Lynne M. Baab
"I can only shake my head in the face of the irony that all too often the very place where we look for life and health, the very place where we expect to nurture and deepen a loving relationship with God, can cause so many to experience the exact opposite. . . .” So remarks author Lynne Baab in this timely and discerning examination of burnout in congregations.
What is burnout? What causes congregation volunteers to burn out? Why is unpaid service sometimes life giving and other times just another frantic commitment? How can congregations become oases of peace and nurture while still carrying out their mission and ministry? How can we recognize holy moments in the presence of God if we are moving so fast that life passes by us in a blur? How can leaders make congregations healthy places to serve?
After reflecting on these important questions and dozens of interviews with congregation volunteers, Baab suggests, “We must not fear burnout; instead, we need to do a better job coming alongside people as they experience burnout, and help them figure out what they are learning.” Foreword by Roy M. Oswald. Paperback.
“If you are burned out from reading books about burnout, this is one that will restore your soul and recalibrate your aim in life and ministry. Lynne Baab deftly disarms the myth that ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to unwrapping and wearing the spiritual gifts. She will help you ‘size up’ your own personality style and, like David, lay aside Saul’s armor in favor of tasks and skills that fit comfortably in your hand. Based on the war stories of those who have retreated from the battle weary and wounded, her book not only describes the symptoms of toxic overcommitment but also provides a prescription for sanity and serenity in serving Christ. If I were a church leader, I would put this book in the hand of congregational members before they undertake any ministry assignment and require that it be read by all who are presently serving.”
Ray S. Anderson
Senior Professor of Theology and Ministry
Fuller Theological Seminary
“There is no greater or more important volunteer organization than the local congregation. That’s why it is so tragic when people get exhausted and can no longer serve with joy. Beating Burnout in Congregations explores the causes of burnout and gives wise counsel as to what can be done to stem the erosion of talent and energy. Lynne Baab takes seriously the God-given diversity of people, as well as the theological paradoxes that call us to both sacrifice and to self-care. This carefully researched and practically written book ought to be read by every leader.”
Dr. Stephen Hayner
Pastor and former president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
“This book should receive your attention, not only because it describes burnout within congregations through a great variety of individual stories, but because it offers strategies for addressing this affliction. . . . Beating Burnout in Congregations makes a real contribution to one of the maladies that can torpedo congregational health from the inside. . . . [It] will help readers reassess God’s call to service, so that those who do offer their skill, knowledge, and energy become uplifted, healthier, and stronger. Congregational leaders would do well to take this book seriously.”
--From the foreword by Roy M. Oswald
Lynne M. Baab serves as associate pastor at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of A Renewed Spirituality: Finding Fresh Paths at Midlife (InterVarsity, 2002), along with the Alban Institute books Embracing Midlife: Congregations as Support Systems (1999) and Personality Types in Congregations: How to Work with Others More Effectively (1998). She and her husband, Dave, are the parents of two grown sons.
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