Burnout or Breakout: Systems Thinking for Stifled Leaders and Stuck Churches

How can church leaders be effective without sacrificing their marriage, their family, or their health in the process? How can good leaders get stuck churches unstuck without becoming another casualty? Burnout or Breakout provides answers to both. The burnout epidemic among church leaders, combined with cultural volatility, uncertainty, and complexity catalyze with unhealthy church processes to get churches stuck. All these forces combine to stifle good leaders until it seems that no reasonable leadership effort can succeed. This book brings new insights to churches and church leaders frustrated with making tireless efforts to move the church, yet constantly falling short of their goals and objectives. It helps church leaders avoid quick-fix solutions that actually keep churches stuck by applying systemic, long-term solutions. This book brings hope to stifled leaders on the verge of burnout. Building on biblical and experiential evidence, the author presents burnout as a systemic problem. Seeing from a systems perspective enables leaders to discover how their church really works and provides tools and strategies to help them realign their church system for health and effectiveness. Based on a comprehensive introduction to systems thinking, leaders are encouraged to see their congregations as complex systems of interrelated and interdependent elements. Effective leadership, from a systems perspective, aligns the church to achieve intended outcomes. Based on the account of Jethro and Moses in Exodus 18, leaders are equipped to identify and diagnose church systems designed for burnout and provides strategies to overcome the stifling forces within the church. Leaders are further equipped to apply systemic thinking to common church system problems, such as declining attendance, mission confusion, and volunteer shortages. Brings hope that stifled leaders and stuck churches can break out of their limiting conditions by investing time and effort to learn and practice seeing from a new systems perspective.


--John Messer