Somewhere early on in the book Greater: Dream Bigger, Start Smaller, Ignite Gods Vision For Your Life Steven Furtick comments that where his first book – Sun Stand Still — invited people to “pray audacious prayers,” in this book he wants to invite people to “live audacious lives.”
I say “somewhere” because normally when I read a book to review here, I grab a half sheet of white paper — which also acts as a bookmark — and as the reading progresses, I note different words and phrases that I want to incorporate in the review, and I also note page numbers for excerpts at my other blog. That process fell apart with Greater; I just kept reading and reading and before too long I had a completed book and a blank sheet of paper.
So now what to write?
Greater is based on the life of the prophet Elisha, who asked his mentor, Elijah, for a double portion of all that Elijah had and did; which is remarkable when you consider Elijah on Mount Carmel, and the fact we know that story but can’t always quickly recite an Elisha story. But Steven Furtick argues that certainly Elisha did receive a greater portion.
Three things stand out to me on reflection, and in the absence of more detailed notes.
First of all, I continue to gain respect for all that Steven Furtick has accomplished and is doing at Elevation Church in Charlotte. He shares more of his personal story in Greater but does so in a way that relates to those of us who haven’t started a megachurch lately. While some of us spent our teen years rocking to Top 40 radio, Steven went to work playing and replaying sermon audio of great classic preachers, learning every nuance and cadence of their teaching. You sense that this is a unique person for whom God had a unique calling; yet at the same time he writes to the average person whose job may not seem as spiritual and may not be as high profile, and to those who may not currently have a job at all.
Second, while my mom enjoyed Sun Stand Still, I was much more aware this time around of a writing style that would strongly connect with a reader in their thirties, twenties or even teens. (Greater doesn’t need a youth edition; the book is the youth edition!) Christian book readers, meet your next generation author. But Furtick also bridges the generations that will read his book; when he speaks of an experience as a young man burning his (secular) CD collection, he stops to remind his younger readers that by burning he doesn’t mean duplicating.
Finally, Steven Furtick has the ability to extract a teachable moment from absolutely anything. I’d mention a few, but they’d all be spoilers… Okay, one: Have you ever been at a football game where a referee’s ruling is sent ‘upstairs’ for a second opinion? An announcement over the public address system begins, “Upon further review…” Well, as they say on Seinfeld, in this book, “that’s an episode.” Analogies like that stick with you and come back to you in the moment you need that extra shot of faith.
Greater releases in hardcover in the U.S. on September 4th, and in paperback in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.