It seems that one of the prerequisites for heading a large Christian humanitarian and relief organization is to write a book detailing ones journey towards a deeper understanding of the issues of world pain and deprivation and the role that Christians need to play in alleviating that. The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World by Richard Stearns is no different.
Stearns details his journey from being an executive with Parker Brother Games and President/CEO of Lenox, Inc (known for their fine tableware and luxury-goods) to the head of World Vision, U.S. The move of Stearns from the world of business to the world of humanitarian relief, was not so much a change in direction as to a return to his roots. As a young believer, he and his wife Renee were committed to living out the gospel in a radical way. He was “determined not to become one of those hypocrites who talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk.”
But God had much for Stearns to experience before he was ready to head this organization with world-wide influence.
Stearns reviews the huge needs within our world and why the church has been so ineffective in fulfilling the entirety of the Gospel: thus the “hole” of the title.
“I believe that we have reduced the gospel from a dynamic and beautiful symphony of God’s love for and in the world to a bare and strident monotone. We have taken this amazing good news from God, originally presented in high definition and Dolby stereo, and reduced it to a grainy, black-and white, silent movie. In doing so, we have also stripped it of much of its power to change not only the human heart, but the world.”
While it is a bit of a slow read, Stearns’ emphasis is undeniably Christian and powerful. I believe it is worth your time. More information about the book can be found here. You can read the first 35 pages of the book here. Last, you can see videos about the book, including an interview with Richard Stearns by Bill Hybels at Willow Creek Community Church here.