Zeal Without Burnout

I didn't want to read this book. I was sure I didn't need it. But I did read it, and I did need it. You probably do too.

Zeal Without Burnout is written for pastors who may be facing burnout, or who are aware of the danger and want to avoid it. It's written by Christopher Ash, who found himself on the edge of burnout in ministry more than once.

It's short and simple. Ash makes the case for a life of sustainable sacrifice rather than a life of burnout. He reminds us of a neglected truth: you and I are dust. We are fragile, temporary, mortal, and frail. Ash develops four implications of this foundational truth:

  • We need sleep, but God does not.
  • We need Sabbaths, but God does not.
  • We need friends, but God does not.
  • We need inward renewal, but God does not.

The book then offers a warning against celebrity, an encouragement that our ministries are worth it, and a reminder to delight in God's grace rather than the gifts of ministry. "If joy is to motivate us to gospel work," Ash writes, "then joy must be rooted in something outside of the fruits of our work, something that can’t be touched by the vagaries and frustrations of this life under the sun." Our joy must be rooted in the fact that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).

The book concludes some final tips, and a short primer on burnout. Ash encourages us to pray:

If I never preach another sermon, never lead another church meeting, never give another talk, never have another one-to-one spiritual conversation with anyone, never use my gifts ever again in ministry, my name is still written in heaven. And in that I will rejoice.

I appreciated the examples and stories in the book. I like that it's short and practical. I didn't learn anything new in this book, but was reminded of things I quickly forget.

I keep talking to pastors who are pushing themselves harder than wisdom would allow. I keep falling into this trap too. It's why I finally bought this book. I need to be reminded of what I already know.

If you're in ministry, I urge you to get and read this book, and to implement its lessons, so that you can live a life of sustainable sacrifice.

More from Amazon.com | WTS Books


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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

6 Ways a Fictional Church May Wreck Your Ministry

If you’re not careful, you may construct a variation of this church, too—whether you’re in seminary or in a difficult ministry context fantasizing about your “next” congregation.

Your Ministry Is Not a Sprint

Stay faithful and run the race to finish well, but remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. God will do his sanctifying work in you over the long haul. He will finish what he’s started.

7 Ways To Slow Summer Down

Remember how endless summer used to feel when you were a kid? Here's how to recapture that sense of having all the time in the world.

Want to Create Things That Matter? Be Lazy.

Become hard to reach, avoid new tech tools, be slow to answer e-mails, become blissfully ignorant of memes, turn down coffee requests, refuse to “hop on” calls, and spend whole days outside working in a single idea — these are exactly the type of lazy behaviors that can change the world.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

The Hoarder Next Door

The suite next to our condo is a small studio. The neighbors who lived there when we moved in fit the profile: young, professional, and private. That's why I was surprised when the new guy moved in. He was older. He didn't work. He was pleasant enough, but also awkward.

His place was a disaster.

When I left my suite, I'd sometimes see into his. Laundry baskets were stacked from floor to ceiling. A trail of debris began at his door and continued down the hallway. I'd sometimes find his cart and his backpack outside his door.

We've always wanted to hold a floor party. We didn't. We never invited our neighbor for a coffee. We'd make small talk in the hallway, but I never learned his name.

On Monday night, I found police officers in the hallway. More police arrived, and someone in a suit. Someone must have complained, I thought. The police must have called a social worker. But then I heard them talk about the coroner.

My neighbor died last weekend. They found his body on Monday. A police seal now secures his door.

My neighbor is gone. So is the man who was killed by a falling tree limb in a local park last Friday. So is the man who was hit by a train near me early on Monday morning. Death surrounds me this week, even in a young community like Liberty Village.

Nothing might have changed If I'd invited my neighbor for a coffee, but I would have known his name. I might have known his story. Now I'll only know him as the hoarder next door. And that's no way to know a neighbor.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Giveaway: Planting Missional Churches

I've already reviewed the new edition of Planting Missional Churches. I've also highlighted some of my favorite quotes. Now it's time to give away some copies.

Fill out the form below to enter the giveaway. The contest closes on Friday at midnight (EST). I'll randomly select five winners for a free hardcover copy of the book. The contest is open to residents of Canada and the U.S.

Below the entry form, you'll find some images with quotes from the book. Save them and share them.

Thanks to LifeWay, B&H, and Daniel Im for the books!

Winners

  • Jevan Ballantyne
  • Robin Ellingwood
  • Tyson Hilton
  • Richard Kidger
  • Jared Stacy
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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

Love the Church More than its Health

This is an implicit danger for all of us who have learned much from God-given books and conferences and ministries about “healthy churches.” We start loving the idea of a healthy church more than the church God has placed us in.

Links for your weekend reading:

Love the Church More than its Health

This is an implicit danger for all of us who have learned much from God-given books and conferences and ministries about “healthy churches.” We start loving the idea of a healthy church more than the church God has placed us in.

The Dangerous Divide Between Theology and Practicality

An unnecessary divide between theology and methodology is unwise.

Why Knowing Your Flock Is Critical for Meaningful Preaching

There are a host of reasons why it is important for pastors who want to preach meaningfully to know their flocks as well as they can, but here are three of the most important.

Watch 6,000 Years of Urbanization in 3 Minutes

Max Galka at Metrocosm has taken the most comprehensive dataset on cities and made it come alive in a new video.

Why Even Driving Through Suburbia Is Soul Crushing

It’s telling that we have no widespread cultural vernacular for why classical urban settlements, which draw on millennia of intellectual background and corpuses of architectural knowledge, are pleasant.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.