Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion
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Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  306 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A message of revitalization and encouragement for leaders before they leave the ministry. Wayne Cordeiro, author of Doing Church as a Team, found himself paralyzed by burnout. He had been in ministry for 30 years, and 10 years after founding what is now the largest church in Hawaii, he found himself depleted. Wayne took a season out of his growing ministry to recharge and...more
Paperback, 215 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Bethany House Publishers (first published March 1st 2009)
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Jun 09, 2011 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all ministers!
It's hard for me to review this book by itself, since I've been reading Anne Jackson's Mad Church Disease at the same time and both books deal with ministerial burnout.

Wayne's is both more personal (we get to see a lot more details about his story & his journey out of burnout/depression) and more specific about steps to take. I think that's probably a function of generational writing styles: Wayne is a mega-church pastor who's a Boomer, while Anne is a Buster.

Anyway, they're both good books...more
Dave Pettengill
Apr 14, 2011 Dave Pettengill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Church Staff
Recommended to Dave by: Fellow ministry partner
This book is very helpful for those in the ministry that might be encountering burnout, being a workaholic, or dealing with depression. Mr. Cordeiro is very transparent in what he dealt with during this time of his life and the steps he took to get back to health. Some parts may seem lofty and out of touch for a small/medium size church pastor who does not run networks, travel the U.S. speaking, or have a large church staff but overall I think there are important things to pull from this book so...more
Heather Hampton
This book is written by a pastor who is highly successful and yet found that he was getting burnt out from all the things he was involved in. This book is written out of the journey that this pastor took in order to reevaluate his life and change things so that he could live a life that really matters to God. This book is a great resource for any pastor or leader that can let their good intentions get in the way of what they are really supposed to be doing.
This was a timely read for me. Although it is intended for pastors, many of the insights apply equally well to other ministry positions. I discovered early in the book that I am dangerously close to burnout -- this book helped validate my situation and provided a number of useful nuggets to reverse the course I was headed on.

A great book reminding people, especially pastors, to get back into a Biblical rhythm for life to avoid burnout & finish their life & calling well
This is a book I'm glad I read when I did and I would recommend it to every pastor, youth leader and church professional I know.
One of the best books i have read for a pastor who needs to protect his heart so he can lead well for the long haul.
I've always struggled with evaluating books that fall into the broad "self-help" or "leadership" categories. To be quite honest, I don't really like most books in this category. I feel guilty for admitting that because, as a minister, leadership and self-improvement should be pretty high on my priority list, right?

This book, though, has shown me a new way to value this literature as part of my personal formation. What Wayne Cordeiro does, and does so well, is to open up a window into his own ex...more
Joey Reed
This book is technically for pastors. But since it deals with burnout and the lack of energy that so many pastors face, laity should read this book as well. When a family member develops cancer or diabetes, his or her family come together to support him or her. My mother became an expert on many facets of diabetes throughout my dad's illness. My wife became an expert on supporting me throughout the difficult moments of my ministry.

From an Amazon customer review: "Wayne's book is both practical a...more
A great book looking at the causes, signs, long term treatment, and preventative measures to prevent burnout when working in ministry.(view spoiler)...more
Jimmy Reagan
Sometimes a book is worth three times more at a certain season of your life than at any other. It might not be your need at this time. On the other hand, it might be soon. I recommend every pastor, and really any leader, have this book on the shelf. For perspective, I read over half of this book at a tough time for me, and then read the other half later when things were so much better for me. I can recommend it from both angles.

Mr. Cordeiro, a pastor of a thriving, large church, hit bottom. He s...more
Michael Locklear
I was encouraged by the honesty and transparency of the author. Pastor Wayne states that "we must discover and discern the top 5 percent of life," which is your faith, marriage, family, ministry and health.
He challenges you to focus on the priorities of each day, those must receive our time and energy. He lists his "seven bursts of daily energy" -
1. daily devotions
2. message preparation
3-5. areas of ministry (Pastoring and Leading)
6. marriage and family
7. self
Towards the end of the bo...more
There are a few helpful things in this book, but the view of the pastorate is atrocious: "The constant expectation to come up with yet another inspiring message wears you out. It depletes your emotional system, reducing your ability to stay balanced. Long term stress is not detectable in the beginning...." The devastating thing is that a pastor I sort of respect recommended it. Cordeiro seems to forget that he, like mot of us happy American pastors, are not like Jeremiah who actually lived in a...more
Florence Millo
Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro

I hadn't anticipated getting much out of this book. After all it was written for ministers and leaders who were burned out. I am neither a minister nor a leader. But to my surprise, his description of what he went through was a very close description of what led me to retire from my career as a pharmacist. Physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion. I was pleased that he gently but firmly described the steps that he took and recommends for people who are just...more
Wished I'd read this before buying copies for our senior staff to read. Frankly, after several well-known bloggers recommended it as an important read in 2009, I was pretty disappointed with the overly simplistic nature of the content. Clear, perhaps. Helpful and encouraging, not so much.

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro writes candidly about his burnout and recovery. Yet, the tone seemed a little patronizing. Few have the luxury, like Cordeiro, of taking a long sabbatical, knowing that income and job are...more
Overall I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Wayne is brutally honest about his burnout and gives very clear steps on how he overcame it.
This book was like sitting down with a mentor, it was something I defiantly needed to read for this season in my life. Now it's my husband, the youth pastor's, turn.
Bill Welte
Read this several years ago. I needed to be reminded of the principles in this book. Timely read.
Beth Laky
In my own battle with ministry burnout, I found Wayne Cordeiro's experience (and that of many other ministry leaders) firstly to be validating to my own struggle - it's comforting to know I'm not alone and there is hope to heal. As I begin to take steps toward health and balance, I will be using the resources Wayne shared as well as incorporating the practical steps he took in preparing for his sabbatical and working through his own burnout. Would recommend to pastors and other church leaders.
Outstanding book! I’m happy to say I’m not burned out, but I can see how easy it would be end up there. This book would be immensely helpful to those who are burned out, as well as for those who want to make sure they take steps now to stay healthy over the long haul. Honest, heart-felt, full of realistic, practical suggestions. Best take away’s for me: paying attention to what fills and what drains you, warning signs to watch for, taking a sabbatical. Highly recommended!
Amy Blakeslee

Overall it was helpful - encouraged me to prioritize rest and pay attention to my physical/emotional well-being. I don't agree with his view that as shepherds 'who we are is what we do and what we do is who we are.' I believe the main way to prevent both burnout and pride is to embrace the truth that my identity is not found in ministry, but in Jesus Christ. Also, this book reminded me to keep my family first as I manage the tension between home and work.
The most helpful thing about this book is that it is the story of a man who burned out and not only survived it but is still living for God, doing full-time church ministry. For a person who has been in the pit of depression, that is the most encouraging thing. There are definitely things to criticize here, but they have probably all been pointed out here before. I think there is alot of experience, wisdom and practical help to be found.
Mark Renfroe
This is a good read for anyone desiring to avoid burnout in ministry.
Bob Flores
This book opened my eyes and explained a lot of what I am currently going through. Even though this book was written for pastors and leaders, I would recommend it for anyone in ministry. Burnout is a reality and the toll it takes is far more costly than most realize. Just the chapter on identifying what fills and drains you is worth the cost of the book.
P.L. White
Like several books written for large audiences this one has many sidebars and quotes. Those are more distracting to me than helpful. The overall message is one I agree with. We need to take seriously the concepts of Sabbath. Those concepts are not merely for the professionals. I heard friends say that the podcasts based on the book were better.
Daniel Ross

Great read and a must for those in ministry. While I have not gone through burn out, I must admit I retaliated to much to what he spoke about. I believe that reading this will prevent 'the inevitable' burnout I was he adding towards. Highly recommended and I am currently reading it again.
Steve Robbins
I know that I have said this before, but this is a must read for every ministry leader. I am going to read it again with my wife so we can talk about how we are going to apply these principles to our lives. Great insight and it is a great subject to learn about from someone elses experience. Great book!
Juan Flores Zuñiga
I'd hear personally Wayne Cordeiro in Chicago before buying his book. It is just as wide and deep as his understanding of balance and health in the minister's life. Honest, insighful, and appealing. This book is one of my favorites concerning my journey towards spiritual healthy life.
This book was just what I needed to read. There is a lot of good insight here and it is refreshing to know that you are not alone in feeling like this. Lots of good resources and application. If you are in ministry I would most definitely recommend that you read this book.
Steve Cioccolanti
I got a copy of this book just when I needed it. I've heard his testimonies in person and did not tire to hear some of them repeated in the book.

Wayne is my hero and my mentor. His name graces the foreword of my book "From Buddha to Jesus".
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“Solitude is a chosen separation for refining your soul. Isolation is what you crave when you neglect the first.” 79 likes
“We don't forget that we are Christians. We forget that we are human, and that one oversight alone can debilitate the potential of our future.” 5 likes
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