The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

The Hole in Our Gospel : What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World, Richard StearnsThe Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
Published by Thomas Nelson

From the publisher:


Is our faith just about going to church, studying the Bible and avoiding the most serious sins—or does God expect more?

Have we embraced the whole gospel or a gospel with a hole in it?

Ten years ago, Rich Stearns came face-to-face with that question as he sat in a mud hut in Rakai, Uganda, listening to the heartbreaking story of an orphaned child. Stearns’ journey there took much more than a long flight to Africa. It took answering God’s call on his life, a call that tore him out of his corner office at one of America’s most prestigious corporations—to walk with the poorest of the poor in our world.

The Hole in Our Gospel is the compelling true story of a corporate CEO who setaside worldly success for something far more significant, and discovered the full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change his own life. He uses his journey to demonstrate how the gospel—the whole gospel—was always meant  to be a world changing social revolution, a revolution that begins with us.

My grandmother asked me to read this book a few years ago when it was first released, because the writer, Richard Stearns, is good friends with the head pastor of her church (Bill Hybels, of the famed Willow Creek Community Church) and she actually purchased a copy for me and pressed it into my hands. Three years later, I’m finally getting around to the book.

The Hole in Our Gospel definitely gave me a LOT to think about. I think that, for the most part, Stearns is right about the fact that there is a huge gap between what God asks of us as Christians and how we as Christians live out our faith in day to day life. Most of us do not give financially more than the standard 10%, most of us do not travel to other parts of the world where people struggle just for basic needs, most of us do not think about the war, famine, and disease that is a daily reality for much of the world’s population.

I don’t feel that I can really “review” this book, because it is focused on an uncomfortable truth that most Christians (including myself) don’t want to face up to – that we enjoy a life of privilege, and don’t do near enough with our privilege to help the rest of the world. Stearns is completely right about this, though, and while reading this book I was forced to confront myself with the possibility that I could personally do more to help those in need – to be more of the person that God wants me to be. I particularly enjoyed how Stearns gives his entire history in this book, because he spent many years as a corporate CEO, making tons of money and not sharing it with those in need, before he became head of World Vision and changed his outlook completely. It shows how views can change, people can grow, and God is constantly working on our characters and our hearts.

But it’s not easy to read this book and take an honest look at oneself. Personally I know I’m not doing enough and The Hole in Our Gospel made that fact crystal clear. If you’re looking to be challenged in your faith journey, I highly recommend this book.


3 thoughts on “The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns”

  1. I commend you for stepping out of your comfort zone…this is one book that would make many people uncomfortable. I think about this all the time. Being a Christian is not just about being nice and going to church every week, I agree. But there is also a balancing act as well. We have obligations in life, like bills and family. I don’t think any of us should feel guilty if we are not running off to Africa and selling everything we own. I think half the battle, really, is just being aware.

  2. I think it’s interesting that you reviewed this book, because my father (who at one time wanted to be a Catholic preist) has often talked to me about retiring to do missionary work. I think that in light of what this book has to say, it would be a great resource for him, but it might inspire him too much, and I might have to say goodbye to my Dad! This was a great review, and I agree with Sandy. Being a Christian is about more than just going to church and putting your envelope in the plate. It’s a whole lifestyle that many of us never even think about.

  3. While I applaud Stearns challenge to us to help the underprivileged, Aids stricken,poor in the world, I struggle with churches that won’t help those in their own backyard. I worked in a Christian crisis counseling centre in a small town. The centre only exists because of the grace of God and the financial support of individual Christians and a few churches. Not to forget our volunteers, who give so sacrificially out of their time and energy.In the last few years the private donations and volunteerism have been dwindling. We approached several evangelical churches to consider adding us to their local missions budget. We have a couple of particularly wealthy congregations. Sad to say, not a church responded in the positive.
    Meanwhile , the centre’s clientele list grows longer each year. Anger,emotional pain, and fallout from poor life decisions, are the top reasons for those seeking help. Interestingly enough , a few of these are attendees of these very churches. Couples come in for pre-marital counseling , often at the encouragement of the pastor marrying them. This summer, the centre had its staff work, for free,due to finances.
    So as much as my heart is sad for the poor and sick in the rest of the world, our own communities are full of emotionally and spiritually poor ,sick and devastated people. I have heard them, through closed office doors ,raise their voices in pain and anger, sobbing uncontrollably. While the organized church does nothing.
    P.S. I got on this website b/c I saw on Facebook , that a pastor of one of these local,wealthy churches, had read it and commented how he felt moved to bring some ideas to his board.

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