My name is Francis Burgula, I was born and brought up in India in a Christian home in one of the south Indian States called Telangana. I received Christ as my personal savior during my college years and went to seminary to equip myself for ministry among college students in India. I served as an evangelist and counselor for college students for ten years before I came here to the US for higher theological studies in the year 2000. I served as a youth pastor for five years here in Southern California before I accepted the Pastoral responsibility at Grace Haven (English Congregation of a Chinese Baptist Church in Irvine, CA) where I served as the Lead Pastor of IFCBC & Grace Haven. I now joined Standing Stone Ministries to continue our vision of Shepherding the Shepherds in India. My wife Priscilla Sunitha and I are blessed with two wonderful children (Richie – 27 years & Reeny – 25 years) who helped us and continue to help us learn a lot about parenting.
During my years of ministry in India with several churches and Christian organizations I noticed that many leaders in Christian ministry focused so much on the demands of ministry that they almost neglected their own marriage and personal spiritual life. During my ministry in India I spoke at several Pastor’s conferences and I noticed that many of them were so busy doing ministry that they had no time for their own soul care, spiritual nourishment, to build their marriage or to spend time with their children. Personal soul care and family were often sacrificed at the altar of ministry demands. A lot of them were at the verge of burning out or quitting ministry because of the toll Christian work had upon their personal and family lives. Many of them were discouraged and felt stuck, some even became very cynical about ministry.
Burnout among pastors is not a new phenomenon, Christian ministry is very demanding and if a pastor or missionary is not careful in maintaining a healthy balance between work, family and his own soul care it is very easy to become overwhelmed, exhausted, disillusioned, discouraged and eventually depressed. I am passionate about this subject because it is part of my own story, at one point of my life I was serving out of an empty tank, running on empty I reached the rock bottom but God in his mercy gave me a break that saved my soul, my family and my ministry. Many pastors and missionaries are neither aware nor conscious of the dangers of burnout and its effect on their marriage, family and ministry. GEMS, Inc started with the passion to address this issue of burnout among Christian leaders and to develop leaders/couples who have a healthy understanding of family and ministry.