Popular blogger Anne Jackson witnessed hurting church leaders at an early age, when vitriolic attitudes invaded the churches her parents were pastoring. Years later, while working 70-hour weeks at a Midwest megachurch, she re-encountered that hurt—expressed in addictions, adultery, and depression—and knew she was called to remind leaders of the primary antidote for burnout: union with Christ. Her first book, Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan, 2009), aims to do just that. CT assistant editor Katelyn Beaty interviewed Anne yesterday.
You grew up a pastor's daughter in Texas. What was your family's experience with burnout?
After my dad finished seminary, my younger brother and I were born, my mom had her tubes tied, and our family jumped into the world of ministry. We mainly pastored at smaller, rural churches in West Texas and at first, everything seemed perfect. [But] at my dad's third church, the politics started invading. I was only 9 at the time, but I could tell my normally involved, optimistic father was withdrawing. My mom wore her concern on her sleeve. I spied on a deacon's meeting and discovered the truth: Our church was full of a lot of mean and bitter people.
Three years later, the same ugly politics resurfaced. I was 16, and at a brutal business meeting, my dad was forced to resign. I stood up, confident in my teenage angst, and confronted the church [members] for their lack of unity. Storming out, I climbed a fire escape and wrote a letter to God, begging him to give me a way to help restore unity to the church …
We moved to Dallas a few months later, and I'd like to say everything has been great since. But almost 13 years later, my parents are still deeply hurt from ...1
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