In addition to reading through the Bible twice this year, I’m also challenging myself to be more intentional about my other reading.  I’m going to read one personal development and one professional development book each month.  The first personal development book that I read actually blurs the line between personal and professional just a little bit, but I’m okay with that.  It was Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro.

Cordeiro is the founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu.  I know, right?  Who gets the sweet gig of planting a church in Hawaii?  This guy.  Cordeiro has also written extensively, and has a whole list of things that he has accomplished through the grace of God.  You can check those out on his bio page here.

But, you don’t get to be this well known unless you work your tail off along the way… or somehow end up on a trashy reality show.  Of course, the down side to working this hard is that there is a possibility of crashing in flames.  In a sense, that’s what this book is about.  It’s not about a moral failure or anything of that sort.  It’s about how Cordeiro didn’t take the time to truly care for himself in the midst of the craziness and busyness of ministry, and ended up suffering from burnout and depression.

Leading on Empty relates his struggle with burnout – the conditions that causes it and the symptoms that showed up – his battle with depression, and the changes that he had to make in his life in order to continue being a top-notch pastor, speaker and leader.

There is a lot that can be learned from this book – some of which I’m sure I’ll tackle in more detail down the road.  But perhaps the biggest lesson that I pulled from it is the fact that you need to rest.  Even in the most-packed season of ministry, there needs to be time to step away and relax.  In creation, God saw fit to rest on the seventh day, so why do we create church cultures that don’t allow pastors to rest?

Everybody needs to have some time away.  It helps to refresh and recharge us, and Leading on Empty is written as a warning for those who think they are invincible and that burnout and depression only happens to those “other” guys.

It’s an easy read, and well worth your time.  Check it out.