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Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion Paperback – April 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Are You Leading on Empty? It was a balmy California evening. I had gone for a jog before I was to speak at a leadership conference. I still can't recall how I got there, but I found myself sitting on a curb weeping uncontrollably. I couldn't tell if it took place suddenly or gradually, but I knew something had broken inside. I remember lifting my trembling hands and asking out loud, "What in the world is happening to me?" I had been leading on empty. That incident began a three-year odyssey I could never have imagined. It was a journey through a season of burnout and re-calibration that would radically change my lifestyle, my values, my goals, and even adjust my calling. Are you leading on empty? If you're a church or ministry leader, you probably identify with Wayne Cordeiro's experience of being overwhelmed by the demands of ministry. At times you may find yourself depleted of energy and longing to escape the constant pressure. In Leading on Empty, Wayne Cordeiro candidly shares his experience with the hope that it will encourage others headed down the same path. He was able to get back in touch with his life, get back in proper balance, and allow God to reenergize his spirit in a way that propelled him forward to greater levels of service. Learn from his experience how you can continue a fruitful ministry. Better yet, take advantage of Wayne's helpful advice early on and avoid burnout altogether. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Don't Let Burnout Get the Best of You "This is a must-read for all leaders. God often calls us to lead smarter, not harder, for the sake of His kingdom. We can all learn from a veteran leader like Wayne Cordeiro as he shares his decades of experience in this book." --Bill Hybels Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church Chairman of the Board, Willow Creek Association "Having experienced burnout personally earlier in my career I can attest to all Wayne has written, and especially to the fact that out of such a fire can come spiritual growth and maturity. I particularly want to encourage young pastors and Christian leaders who are just starting out in their ministries to devour this book and follow its wise counsel." --Archibald D. Hart, Ph.D., FPPR. Senior Professor of Psychology and Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary "Sooner or later, we all find ourselves trying to lead on empty. It's a tough place to be. But the wisdom, transparency, and godly advice Wayne offers in these pages can spare us the grief. He shows how to keep the tank from running dry--or how to refill it if it's gone empty. If you're in ministry, you need to read this book." --Larry Osborne Senior Pastor, North Coast Church, Vista CA "I strongly recommend Leading on Empty to any church planter, seasoned minister, or emerging leader. This book will help protect your flame and passion for ministry until we all reach our God-intended purpose and destiny." --Talo Sataraka Senior Pastor, New Hope Tokyo Director, New Hope Japan and Asia Association --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 3.2.2010 edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764207598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764207594
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wayne Cordeiro is senior pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii, one of the most beloved churches. Pioneered by Wayne Cordeiro in 1995, it has grown to over 12,000 in weekend attendance with over 80% of the attendees being first-time Christians. New Hope has recently planted 24 satellite churches in Honolulu. Wayne is an author, songwriter, and highly sought after conference speaker. His books include Doing Church as a Team, Attitudes that Attract Success, Dream Releasers, Seven Rules of Success, Rising Above, Leading on Empty, Divine Mentor, Irresistible Church, Sifted, and Jesus-Pure and Simple. His speaking takes him around the world. He is a church planter and leadership trainer at heart and has planted over 134 churches in the Pacific Rim and around the world. Wayne is also the author of the Life Journal used by thousands of churches. He is the chancellor of New Hope Christian College with campuses in Honolulu, Oregon, Tokyo and Myanmar. He and his wife, Anna, have three children and six grandchildren. They live in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
In his book "Leading on Empty," Wayne Cordeiro shares the story of his own personal burn-out, which resulted from years of very successful pastoral ministry that he pursued without adequate attention to sustainability and personal well-being. He wrote this book as a means to share what he learned over the years, especially during and after his crisis of burn-out, to help other leaders, especially pastors, to avoid the trauma that he endured. The account is very personal and very specific, written in Cordeiro's typically accessible style. Though I read it in small bits over the course of several months, it could also probably be read in one or two sittings.

The strengths of the book are its practicality and specificity. Cordeiro offers a host of practices that pastors would be well-served to embrace or at least consider to avoid the sort of crisis that knocks so many hundreds of pastors out of ministry each year. He suggests that taking care of his body through diet, exercise, and sleep was essential. He suggests that maintaining spiritual disciplines like Bible study and prayer and developing other leaders around him were essential. He suggests that being committed to rest, by establishing a daily routine including moments of respite, committing to a weekly Sabbath rest, carving out time for periodic days of renewal, and understanding the value of sabbaticals every 5-7 years, was absolutely essential to him. He speaks about the value of giving necessary time and energy to his family and of scheduling his day to give his most productive time to his most important commitments. This is all great stuff, which we would all do well to consider.

As much as I agreed with almost everything that Cordeiro said in the book, I have several critiques to offer.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Becky Laswell on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read "Leading on Empty" in less than two days! Wayne Cordeiro's narrative is engaging, his descriptions of burn-out are realistic, and his motivations to get help are inspiring. He uses more analogies than I prefer, and his solutions seem to target one type of leader, but overall it's a very readable book that should help people.

The early chapters were most helpful. Through realistic examples and teaching from Scripture, Cordeiro covers the warning signs for depression and burnout, then addresses how he recognized those in himself and sought help. I've worked in ministry leadership for about 7 years, but I'm not a senior pastor. I could see myself and others in his examples. These chapters could be read by Christians who are leaders in business/etc. though they'll have to re-frame ideas to fit their situations.

I was mostly craving practical suggestions. I found a few in the later chapters, but these chapters (even more than the earlier ones) seem to be written from the perspective of a Senior Pastor. Since that's not my role, these chapters were a little unsatisfying. I had to constantly filter his writing thru my situation, which was a little frustrating.

I'd love to see a revised edition that offers general principles (alone, without drawing applications for pastors just yet). Then, add chapters for overcoming burnout from three different perspectives: senior church leaders, other church staff, and also lay-leaders (or Christians leading in business settings). These groups all experience burnout that impacts our churches/families, but solutions are different (i.e. we can't all take an extended sabbatical).

Overall, while the final chapters left me a little unsatisfied, I'd still recommend the book highly. If you're a church staff member, even if you aren't the "senior" leader, this book is worth reading to be more familiar with the problem of burnout.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark L. Edwards on March 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend Wayne Cordeiro's book - his narrative on `Leading On Empty" is funny, intimate, personal and very confronting. This book is an excellent read - full of practicalities for anyone who leads in any capacity. Cordeiro's writing style ensures that you are on his very personal journey with him - my friends who have read it feel the same way I do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Adaro on February 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While reading "Leading on Empty" it was like someone describing MY own feelings. Not that I'm falling out of ministry, but at times I couldn't describe my feeling of tiredness. Here Wayne Cordeiro is sharing his emotions, his life in ministry and God's calling and how we as can refuel our commitments and love back to God. Refocusing our lives to make it better, yes I recommend this to everyone!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Todd Lynn on October 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Wayne Cordeiro speaks from experience in this book. When I ordered this book, I knew I was not quite in the place where it would speak directly to my current situation. After reading it, I know that I am not anywhere close to experiencing burnout but this book helped me understand how important balancing your life is. I am glad I read this book and recommend it to any pastor or spiritual leader, or anyone who leads a hectic life. As someone who in the future desires to plant a church if the Lord so leads, this book was a great read and well worth my time.

Wayne jumps right in to this book with his own personal story of burnout which definitely draws the reader in. As you continue to read, Wayne shares story after story of pastors and spiritual leaders who have broken down from high expectations and not maintaining balance in their lives. Pastors many times attempt to be superman to their congregation and yet fail to see the true affect it has on their families and personal lives as well. They feel that since they are in the ministry, that what they are doing is blessed by God and therefore He will give them the strength they need to minister to everyone in their church because that is what a pastor is called to do. However, they fail to realize that this is not the plan God has in mind for any pastor or person in spiritual leadership. Even Moses himself had limits and had to find a way to set in motion a model of leadership over the people of Israel because it was too much for him to handle on his own. If Moses struggled with this, why do so many feel that it does not apply to them?

One of my favorite parts of the book was the challenge to have a personal Sabbath.
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