It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book review. Whoops! Life got a little busy. But when I saw the opportunity to review Greater (2012, WaterBrook Multnomah, retail $19.99) by Steven Furtick, the lead pastor of Elevation Church in NC, I knew I could make time. Personally, I was interested in reading this book because I have felt this stirring in my heart but wasn’t exactly sure what to do. This book really spoke to that.
Steven Furtick argues that “most believers aren’t in danger of ruining their lives. They’re facing a danger far greater: wasting them” (p.5). We can get into these ruts of living these powerless, boring lives and be misled in thinking that this is what Christ called us to. Instead, he argues – and I love how he puts this – that “Baseline living is not okay. Not for a believer in Jesus. There’s a price to pay for Christian complacency” (p. 6-7). I’ve found myself challenged by this particular thought often. Furtick argues that being “Greater” for Christ is about the journey. Greater is grasping that God “is ready to accomplish greatness in your life” and that’s not just a dream. That can be a reality.
He uses this concept of “greater” as a launching point to study the life of Elisha, an incredibly powerful prophet in Israel. Furtick extracts a number of principles from Elisha’s story and uses stories of people to illustrate how these principles work in our day. I highlighted a lot. In fact, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a number of photos with some of my favorite quotes.
There were a lot of nuggets like this that really hit home that living “greater” isn’t just for the modern heroes of our day or the ancient prophets of our faith. It might not mean that we’re raising dead sons back to life, but we’re invited in this process right where we are.
This book is an incredibly easy read. It’s almost a challenge not to read through the book too quickly. I had to pace myself so I could really think about his argument and points. But if you’re looking for a book that is accessible with some take-home points that you can apply the moment you crack the spine, this is a great book. In fact, as I was reading it, I thought of a number of friends who would find it relevant.
Finally, I thought it would be a great resource for a small group. The back of the book includes five discussion questions per chapter. I think it would be a much more powerful book to read and discuss as a small group. I think talking through some of the challenges of “lesser living” with the calling of “greater” would be best considered in a community environment.
All that said, the author’s informal tone was slightly annoying to me as a reader. And occasionally he came across as arrogant. Also, there’s some media controversy around Furtick’s church’s handling of a situation with a disabled child and his mother that’s referenced in the book and explained a little more in this blogger’s review. I remember reading it and thinking, “I’m not sure how relevant this is to his main point of the chapter” and then I read JC Wert’s take. I think it was poor form for Furtick to include it in the book, but there are a number of really good, applicable things in the book. So I’m not sure that it’s worth dumping the whole book because of it.
Overall, I recommend Greater to anyone who’s feeling God tug on their heart for something greater but haven’t known how to do anything with that feeling. Just take the nuggets and leave the rest.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.