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Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic Hardcover – February 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Are you suffering from Mad Church Disease? It is the illness facing church leaders who - despite their best efforts to serve God and his people - are killing themselves spiritually, physically, emotionally or relationally.

In the book, Mad Church Disease , popular author and blogger, Anne Jackson, digs into the causes, symptoms and solutions of a wide variety of challenges stemming from church work. Anne should know: she's a pastor's kid and has been employed in churches. I doubt there is anything quite like the dynamics of working in a church when it comes to the pressure it puts on leaders. And Anne captures the experiences and causes of burnout effectively.

The book is deep, but not stuffy. It is funny, but not cynical. It is easy to read, without being simplistic. Anne's writing is poignant and personal, without being tacky. It takes a long, hard look at the difficulties of church work, while asking readers to face their problems.

Ultimately, Mad Church Disease is not just about solutions, it is a solution. It is a tool that can be used by a church staff or by individuals. It contains helpful interviews with church leaders who have lived through Mad Church Disease. And it offers worksheets to start private or group discussions about the issues of personal and spiritual health. Use this great new tool to find and restore healthy margins in your life.

--Dave Kinnaman, President, Barna Group --Barna Group, June 2009

My first thought: "What does a twenty-eight-year-old know about burnout?" Then I read this story about a girl named Anne, who grew up in a pastor's home and has lived through enough experiences to know what she's talking about. Anne Jackson not only tells her own story, but she gracefully integrates principles that have me at times saying, "That's right!" and at other times admitting, "That's me." As soon as I can, I'll be ordering enough copies for our entire staff. -- Tim Stevens, executive pastor, Granger Community Church, Granger, Indiana, and author of Pop Goes the Church --Tim Stevens, executive pastor, Granger Community Church

Anne Jackson is the real deal. And I appreciate her honest approach to a touchy topic. Mad Church Disease is a must-read for anyone who has gotten burned or burned-out by the church. -- Mark Batterson, lead pastor, National Community Church, Washington, D.C., and author of Wild Goose Chase


Anne Jackson is the real deal. And I appreciate her honest approach to a touchy topic. Mad Church Disease is a must-read for anyone who has gotten burned or burned-out by the church. -- Mark Batterson, lead pastor, National Community Church, Washington, D.C., and author of Wild Goose Chase

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310287553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310287551
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Marie Miller (formerly Anne Jackson) has written several books.

* Mad Church Disease - Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan, February 2009 - Anne Jackson)
* Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace (Thomas Nelson, August 2010 - Anne Jackson).
* Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope and Health (May 2014 - Anne Marie Miller)
* Mad Church Disease - Healing from Church Burnout (Expanded and Updated) (July 2014 - Anne Marie Miller)
* Lean on Me: Finding Intentional, Vulnerable and Consistent Community (Thomas Nelson, October 2014 - Anne Marie Miller)
* Surviving Christmas: Advent Devotions for the Hard and Holy Holidays

She is under contract for two more books due to publish in 2016 and 2017 with Baker Publishing Group.

Anne speaks internationally at colleges, conventions and churches on issues like social justice, sexuality, health, addiction, grace and restoration. She has traveled around the United States and to 20 countries telling the stories of hope found in least likely places.

Since 1999, Anne has been communicating for and with corporations, non-profits, faith-based organizations and publishing giants. In addition to her position as a bi-weekly columnist for Relevant Magazine, she has written features for publications such as Cosmopolitan, Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, Neue, Reject Apathy, Youth Worker Journal, Outreach Magazine,,, The United Methodist Reporter, and

Anne hasn't always been just a writer. For three years in the late 90s, she managed a profitable bookstore. She then took a year to learn the ins-and-outs of non-profit budget analysis. When she realized math was her arch-nemesis, she jumped into the world of communication, first as a marketing and business development associate for a top-50 and then as a graphic communications designer and ad copywriter. In 2003, she took her first ministry position and spent six years on staff at various churches in communication, technology and project management roles. In 2009, Anne left her steady paycheck and health insurance behind and currently desires to help as many people as possible as a freelance writer, strategy consultant, and all-around Jill of Most Trades. Anne has helped raise over $2 million dollars for various non-profit organizations.

Anne is an advocate for many great organizations. She was a cyclist on the 2010 Ride:Well Tour, a cross-country cycling tour in Summer 2010. The two-month long, 3000 mile trip from San Diego to Myrtle Beach raised awareness and funds for water projects in Africa. She's also a big fan of The Mentoring Project and To Write Love on Her Arms.

Anne Marie and her husband Tim, a youth pastor, live in Lubbock, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Gomez on January 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First time authors like Anne Jackson are few and far in between. Her blog, is one of the top-ranked blogs for Christian leadership. In a recent list of the top 60 of those blogs, she is #18, and one of only three women on the list. She has an amazing heart for God's people and unity within his Church.

As unique as she may be, she is not at all alone in the journey she is on. Her newly released book, Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic, is both a refreshing confession and a hard look at the struggle of burnout, its symptoms, and the dangers it brings into the church and its leaders.

This book isn't just for pastors. The symptoms of burnout affect everyone from the senior pastor to the worship team to the greeters at the door.

Jackson starts the book by opening up and sharing her story in order to both introduce herself and to allow her story to be something with which the reader can relate.

Anne is a pastor's daughter, and her family has been hurt by the church over and over again. When she was sixteen, she prayed a bold prayer, telling God that she would leave the church entirely, unless he gave her a way to bring unity back into it.

Lucky for both her and us, after years of silence, He answered her prayer.

Anne dives right into the issue of burnout, or as she puts it: "mad church disease." She shares the correlation between mad cow disease and its traits to the symptoms of burnout within the church and its leaders. Between attacking through hidden and internal methods or laying dormant until it is too late, gravity is quickly brought to the real dangers of ministry burnout.

"Cows don't have much hope when they are infected with mad cow disease," she elaborates.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Chad Estes on April 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mad Church Disease. What a name for a book. It certainly got my attention. I wondered if the author, Anne Jackson, was mad at the church, thought the church was diseased, or both. It sounded scandalous, which can make for an awfully good, nightlight read. Then I read the subheading for the book, "Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic." Now I wasn't so sure I was interested. I spent a lot of years working very hard in full time ministry. I didn't need to read a book that told me what I already knew. Her title compares the ministry burnout in church to mad cow disease, the bovine bug which has no cure, is this the same for the virus affecting so many church leaders?

If it isn't evident by hanging out with your friends who are ministry leaders, here are some recent statistics from The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc.

90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.

80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor's children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.

33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.

90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands and 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.

70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.

70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.

40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.

33% confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church .

50% have considered leaving the ministry in the last months.

50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Zimmerman on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If I had unlimited resources I would hand this book to every single pastor I have ever met. I would give a copy to their wives or husbands, their children and their volunteers. I would put this book in the hand of anyone who has ever been in ministry both church and para church.

I truly believe this book is that important.

I am not famous or popular. Many far more influential and inspiring Christian Authors have written things about this book. However, I am guy just like many of you who have been involved in ministry over the years and I have experienced burnout. A few months ago I was introduce to Anne's blog and have been a fan ever since. Anne's writing style is what draws thousands to her blog. She is both honest and transparent without being proud or pretentious. Her honesty hits home with church leaders and church attendees a like. The world needs a fresh dose of really honest people. Anne is one of them. I think that is what makes her upcoming release Mad Church Disease so special.

After finishing an advanced copy of Anne's book on a flight to Michigan from Las Vegas I jotted the following in back pages of the book . . .

"I just finished reading the advanced copy of Anne's book. I don't even know where to begin. I don't know if I have ever read a book and written `ME' next to as many paragraphs as this one. I don't know what it is about my past, churches or my life but I know I have experienced burnout. There are so many parts of this book that are relevant to my life right now and in the past. I feel that many lay leaders, volunteers and pastors will be able to relate to both the subject and the author."

"There are parts of this book that I read quickly because it strikes too deep at my heart and challenges me too much.
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