Don't Blow Up Your Ministry: Defuse the Underlying Issues That Take Pastors Down, By Michael MacKenzie

Don't Blow Up Your Ministry

Defuse the Underlying Issues That Take Pastors Down

by Michael MacKenzie
Foreword by Marshall Shelley

Don't Blow Up Your Ministry
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: December 14, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4168
  • ISBN: 9780830841684

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There's a ticking time bomb in your ministry. Is it you?

The pressures of pastoring are endless, leading many to burnout and depression, sexual misconduct, or substance abuse. But moral failures can be averted and shipwrecked ministries can be repaired. Counselor Michael MacKenzie, a longtime expert in helping pastors at risk, deals with the issues beneath the issues, such as shame, fear, and pain. If we don't address our own weakness and brokenness, we will hurt ourselves and those around us.

With vivid pictures of both self-destructive patterns and reconstructive grace, MacKenzie shows how to lay the groundwork for restored identity and service. God can use those exact areas of vulnerability as a catalyst to you becoming the pastor and person he intends you to be.

Defuse the bomb before it goes off. Find hope for healing and recovery.

"You will learn to not be content with surface treatments of destructive behavior. You will develop the ability to look beneath the surface to address the root causes. I enthusiastically commend this book to you."

Marshall Shelley, director of the doctor of ministry program at Denver Seminary, from the foreword

"Every pastor needs to read this book. Why? Because every minister is vulnerable. If you think you aren't—you're especially at risk. Don't Blow Up Your Ministry is grounded in biblical wisdom and practical experience. It's chock-full of real-life applications. If you are a leader in ministry, don't miss out on Michael MacKenzie's life-giving message."

Les and Leslie Parrott, authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts

"As 'successful' leaders it's easy for us to become so busy helping others discover who they are 'in Christ' that we forget to apply those truths to ourselves. Mike shares wisdom and discernment that is founded in a both a solid head knowledge and passionate heart knowledge of God's Word honed through decades of in-the-trenches experience in helping those who have spent their lives helping others. He goes beyond describing and defining the problem to detailing practical ways to not just get through but actually learn from and grow through the dark and difficult times in the process of becoming more than conquerors. God has given Mike a comforting, convicting, encouraging, and empowering message that will provide help and hope for anyone who has felt discouraged, defeated, overwhelmed, and ready to give up. This is one of those rich books that you'll want to read more than once."

Gary J. Oliver, executive director of the Center for Healthy Relationships and professor of psychology and practical theology at John Brown University

"Michael MacKenzie knows what brokenness and wholeness in the lives of leaders look like. For years he has dealt with both in their various forms (moral, spiritual, emotional, relational) at the Marble Retreat in Colorado, where leaders come when life is in the process of (as he puts it) blowing up. MacKenzie's book (his first) is a must-read for any man, woman, or married couple in leadership who seek to chart a new path in the direction of lifelong resilience and effectiveness."

Gail and Gordon MacDonald, authors and speakers

"Serving and leading in the local church places pastors and church leaders at a difficult intersection. The pressure to perform coupled with awareness (or denial) of our own sin, brokenness, and fragility leave us dangerously vulnerable to a wide variety of potential pitfalls. In this book, Michael MacKenzie offers us a sobering reality check right alongside immense hope. Out of our shame, fear, and pain, God can still bring about surprising good, and Don't Blow Up Your Ministry presents a compelling first word in a critically important ongoing conversation."

Jay Y. Kim, pastor and author of Analog Church

"With grace and compassion, Mike MacKenzie poignantly lays out the necessity for pastors to receive their own pastoral care. He invites pastors to dig deep, exploring the underlying issues that if unattended could result not only in personal harm but in communal damage. His intimate knowledge of pastors who've struggled, combined with his clinical expertise, gives weight and heartache to the many people who could've benefited from this book years ago. This is an essential read for every pastor, every ministry worker, and every seminary student. You are loved, you are not alone, and you, too, need care."

Bethany Dearborn Hiser, author of From Burned Out to Beloved: Soul Care for Wounded Healers and director of soul care for Northwest Family Life

"This book is not just for pastors but a guide for each of us, from the professionally trained to those who volunteer. Why? Because we all started with a passion, a calling, a felt ministry for those we came alongside. It contributed to our sense of significance, developed compassion, and created feelings of belonging while caring for others. Yet this sense of serving and sacrifice can get us into trouble, wear us out, and make us hate what we used to love! Though Don't Blow Up Your Ministry focuses on pastors, the concepts are applicable to all who serve, both in a vocation or as a volunteer. Don't destroy what you love doing most. Be proactive, drawing on the safeguards and practices laid out in Don't Blow Up Your Ministry, and looking back you will be grateful for the long-lasting, immense satisfaction of your calling."

Dave Carder, licensed marriage and family therapist, author of Anatomy of an Affair

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Marshall Shelley
Introduction: The Powers and the Dangers in the Lives of Pastors

Part One: Dangerous Occupation
1. How One Pastor Blew Up
2. Going It Alone
3. Shot by the Silver Bullet

Part Two: Problems in Ministry
4. The Fuse Is Lit
5. Megapastors: The Fallout from a Megaton Bomb
6. The Issues Beneath the Issues
7. The Bulletproof Vest: Protection from the Silver Bullet
8. Confession
9. Falling Apart or Coming Together?
10. Depression and Suicide

Part Three: Defused: Known and Loved
11. Identity and Adequacy in Christ
12. Knowing Ourselves and Being Known
13. Being Loved and Loving



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Michael MacKenzie

Michael MacKenzie is a licensed professional counselor, ordained pastor, and hospital chaplain. He has served for ten years as the clinical director of Marble Retreat, a Colorado retreat center that specializes in ministering to pastors and ministry leaders in crisis. He studied marriage and family counseling at Denver Seminary and has a DMin in pastor care from Lincoln Christian University. Michael and his wife, Kari, have two sons and live in Florida.