Rhythms of Grace

David Williams, general superintendent at Evangelical Friends Church–Mid-America Yearly Meeting, writes in Rhythms of Grace: Life-Saving Disciplines for Spiritual Leaders, that “there is no greater privilege in the Christian life than to serve as a spiritual leader within the body of Christ. Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a genuine crisis in the church today. Pastors and other spiritual leaders are leaving vocational ministry faster than we can replace them.”

David’s book, now available for purchase and scheduled to ship July 10, identifies the problem as burnout, “a pastoral pathology resulting from a lethal combination of extraordinary job-related stress and woefully inadequate self-care.”

“Most of us know someone experiencing burnout,” David writes. “They might be serving in your church right now, or more than likely, they may have recently left. They may be your friends; they may be part of your own family.”

So what is the cure? David writes about the answers we find “in the life of the prophet Elijah, in his practices of physical refreshment, spiritual renewal, and vocational realignment, renewing rituals  or rhythms of grace [that] prove to be life-saving disciplines for spiritual leaders.”

Charles Mylander writes that “this is a helpful book for any Christian who feels stressed, overworked, or severely criticized.” Before retirement, Charles served as the superintendent of Evangelical Friends Church–Southwest and also as the director of Evangelical Friends Mission. “Rhythms of Grace speaks to the exhaustion and burn-out that many (if not most) spiritual leaders experience sooner or later. Williams cites his own story of trying so hard and ending up exhausted, disillusioned, and isolated. Then with the Old Testament prophet Elijah as a model, enormous research on the subject, and his own pastor’s heart, he takes the role of a shepherd to the wounded.”

Eric Muhr