Newsletter #552 – The Latest From Richard Stearns

Richard Stearns 2Until recently I was unaware of Richard Stearns but like most of us I was familiar with the large, global organization he leads: World Vision U.S. Former CEO of two major companies, Stearns moved to oversee World Vision’s goal of “working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”  I was deeply impacted by Stearns’ 2010 bestseller The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World. So I enthusiastically jumped into his 2013 book Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning.

The book was more theological and less practical than I had expected. Stearns shows how we urge people to say some routine prayer that expresses belief but we fail to point out that deciding to follow Jesus involves a long-term commitment that can impact every aspect of our lives. Initially I thought the book got a little bogged down in retelling the whole Bible story but then I thought back to last week when I had dinner with a few seasoned counselors and psychology professors. They bemoaned the theological and biblical ignorance of so many students who want to relate Christianity to their counseling or other professions. I see this myself—dedicated emerging care givers who talk about integrating their faith with their practice. Many have high levels of expertise in their professions but almost no knowledge what they believe and why.

Stearns sets his book in the context of scripture, clearly written theology and Bible history. Then he shows how this can be the basis of helping and building people worldwide. I cannot remember Stearns ever mentioning counseling, coaching or leadership, but in many ways this is a fresh look at what integration could look like even when we’re never involved in humanitarian efforts.

Last month Richard and Reneé Stearns published a book that I plan to read next. Written in a devotional format, He Walks Among Us: Encounters with Christ in a Broken World describes hopes, dreams, heartaches but also joy in the midst of intense poverty and need.

Please leave a comment on any of this. How does it relate to your life and work?

    • JennyG
    • November 7th, 2013

    Thank you for these good book recommendations. The focus on long-term discipleship has been very weak in our Christian culture. The Christian life is more than a one-time prayer, as you say. It is so important to have the daily commitment that changes how we see and do life.
    Thanks for stimulating this discussion.

  1. Gary, you’ve connected to an insightful author. RIchard is the real deal; high profile backed by real faith.

    • P.S. to my own comment … I have recently begun coordinating wwwTheDiscipleshipNetwork.com where discussions like this are taking place. It is encouraging to see how the CHurch is recognizing that a 19th century model of discipleship needs a major recalibration.

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