Books that helped

Here are a few books that I started reading as I slipped down the slope of burnout and depression.

The Shack

William P Young’s book really rocked Christendom. I don’t get to read much fiction, but this is an amazing book that tells the story of a father who’s daughter was abducted by a serial killer. He questions God’s goodness and power and gets more than answers. He finds God himself and experiences him in a profound way. Some Christians (usually religious ones) have struggled with this because they are analysing the author’s theology. What they don’t understand is that he’s not trying to write a theological book. He’s trying to tell a story. And the cool thing is, when you think about it, the Bible is first and foremost a story. I’ve heard preachers preach against reading this book. Suspend judgement, read it yourself then we’ll see.

Destined to Reign

Joseph Prince is a voice to the church worldwide. He freaks a lot of people out because his message of grace is so extreme. But extreme times call for extreme measures. The church is so religious and “method-based” and many churches really only propogate “behavior modification”. Princes’ message to me was that God loved me no matter what state I was in, nor what results I had achieved and that’s what I needed to hear.

Journey of Mercy

This book was written by a pastor Down Under called Peter McHugh who unravelled. He is now a very successful pastor but was a control freak and had a breakdown. He writes very bluntly as only the Aussies can and says stuff that most pastors would never say. He comes up with some amazing insights into why pastors burnout and what he learned.

A Grace Disguised

This book should be the companion to The Shack. A bible college professor Jerry Sittser, experienced a car crash with a drunk driver. His mother, wife and young daughter were all killed that night. He was left to raise his three remaining children. He wonders why God didn’t prevent the crash, intervene. He wonders why his children are growing up without a mother. He finds himself unable to pray, only to cry. His ideas are similarly profound.

Henri Nowen

Nouwen was an amazing. He’s a catholic priest gifted with tremendouse insight and wisdom. A true contemplative. Out of Solitude really helped me. With Open Hands was brilliant. The Wounded Healer is a classic.

The Next Generation Leaders

Oddly, this book by Andy Stanley kick started my journey in discovering who I really was and what i was actually gifted to do. I realised that outside of my giftings I was crap, but inside my giftings I was the bomb!

Now Discover Your Strengths.

Following on from Stanleys’ leadership book, I picked up Marcus Buckinghams book to look more deeply at my strengths. I found that when I stayed in my strengths i was energised and when I was outside my strengths I was depeleted. As my emotional reserves plummeted I became more and more focussed on staying within my strengths and developing a team that could handle my weakness. It sounds obvious, but the model that I inherited was one where the good pastor was “across” everything. Not that we do everything but we have to be “well rounded” in order to have the respect of our staff and congregations. I gave myself permission to be me, I admitted that I wasn’t very good at everything else and asked for help.


One Response

  1. I liked The Shack……sometims truth is expressed in stories so much better than pure points/exposition.

    There is another book I loved and helped me get understand what I was longing for in relationships in the church. Its called “Sacred Companions” . Cant seem to rmember the author at the moment.

    I also recommend Brennan Mannings books: Ragamuffin Gospel, Relentless Tenderness of Jesus and Abba’s Child amongst others.

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