Is our faith only 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?
More than twenty 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’s 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.
This anniversary edition of The Hole in Our Gospel features new content along with full-color graphics on poverty statistics, a guide for churches on short-term missions and international engagement, and an index of Scripture on poverty, justice, faith in action, and more. The Hole in Our Gospel changed people’s lives, and some of those personal accounts also appear in this anniversary edition. Stearns’s compelling story demonstrates that the whole gospel was always meant to be a world-changing, social revolution, a revolution that begins with each one of us.
The Hole in Our Gospel is also available in Spanish, Vacío en nuestro evangelio.
Richard Stearns went from success to significance when he left the corporate world behind to become president of World Vision U.S. in 1998. After 20 years as the longest-serving CEO of the Christian relief and development organization, he plans to retire in January 2019. Stearns holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His professional career included leadership roles at Gillette, Parker Brothers Games, The Franklin Mint, and Lenox Inc., where he became president and chief executive officer in 1995. Stearns brought corporate best practices to World Vision, where he inspired a culture of outcome-focused management. His lasting legacy is his leadership in calling on the Church in America to respond to some of the greatest needs of our time, notably the HIV and AIDS pandemic and the global refugee crisis. Stearns and his wife, Reneé, have five children and five grandchildren and live in Bellevue, Washington.
Do you long for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in your life? Do you believe all the right things, go to church, and faithfully read your Bible, still feeling that something is missing? You may be right.
Two thousand years ago Jesus gave an urgent assignment to his followers right before he left. At its essence it was not just an invitation to believe; it was a bold call to action. It was a challenge to go into the world to reclaim, reform, and restore it for Christ.
Simply stated, the message of this book is that God has invited you to join him in this world-changing mission. And if you are not personally participating in God’s great endeavor, you could be missing the very thing he created you to do.
Best-selling author Rich Stearns invites you not just to stand on the sidelines but to get into the game. That is when the adventure begins.
“Unfinished, just might challenge everything you thought you understood about your Christian faith. Unfinished is a call to finish the job Christ gave his church to do. If every Christian read this book and took it seriously, the world would never be the same again.”—Bill Hybels, senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church; and chairman, Willow Creek Association
“Just when I’ve gotten comfortable with my faith, here comes Rich Stearns, reminding me what matters and who God loves and why. Just when my world is the way I want it, Rich reminds me the world is not the way God wants it. Hungry families. Malnourished kids. Just when I dare think my work is done, Rich reminds me that we are just getting started. First in The Hole in Our Gospel, now in Unfinished, Rich gives me a kind, gracious kick. Thanks, Rich. (I think.)”—Max Lucado, pastor and best-selling author
“Okay, admit it: sometimes you wonder . . . don’t you? Is this it? The life you’re living. Is there more? From his journey in corporate and nonprofit leadership—in very good causes—Rich Stearns concludes there is, indeed, more. More purpose. More meaning. More life. In Unfinished you will discover how your life can be about more.”—Elisa Morgan, author; speaker; publisher, FullFill; and president emerita, MOPS International
“Rich Stearns has done it again! In this winsome, engaging, and challenging book, he calls us back to some of the key issues of what it means to be followers of Christ in a world full of distractions and false gods. This is a book for everyone, about finding the place of our calling in God’s global mission. It is a book about fulfillment, adventure, and a lifetime of transformation. It made me hungry for more of the life God has in store for us.”—Dr. Stephen Hayner, president, Columbia Theological Seminary
“Your story can be a part of the Great Story. Rich Stearns knows the story and lives the story. Unfinished may call you to the greatest chapter of your life.”—John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church; and author, Who Is This Man?
“The kingdom is both already and not yet, the work of Christ both finished and to be completed. Stearns reminds readers of every Christian’s responsibility to live on mission, in light of Jesus’ example and call. Richard shows us by his life, the ministry he leads, and the passion of this book that there is much to be done and we are to be a part of God’s grand plan.”—Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research; and author, Subversive Kingdom
“Every generation of Christians needs a wake-up call to remind us of how serious and strenuous are the demands of discipleship. May Rich Stearns’s Unfinished be that alarm for our time.”—David Neff, editorial vice president, Christianity Today
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.
A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
Together for the first time in one volume, The Hole in Our Gospel, revised and updated, and Unfinished take us on a breathtaking journey to rediscover the critical mission of Christ in our world today and the richness of God’s calling on our lives.
The Hole in Our Gospel is a compelling true story of a corporate CEO who set aside worldly success for something far more significant and discovered the full power 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.
This special edition of The Hole in Our Gospel includes a new epilogue from author Richard Stearns, a church resource guide, color charts and graphs on the needs of the world, and a concordance on poverty and justice.
“Unfinished might just challenge everything you thought you understood about your Christian faith,” says Bill Hybels, senior pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church. “If every Christian read this book and took it seriously, the world would never be the same again.”
Just before he left, Jesus sent his followers into the world with a revolutionary mission: to change the world by proclaiming God’s truth and demonstrating his incredible love. But the single task he gave us to accomplish remains unfinished.
“Just when I dare think my work is done, Rich reminds me that we are just getting started,” says Max Lucado, pastor and best-selling author.
Why are we here, what is our purpose, and where do we fit in the bigger story that God is writing? How should our faith affect our careers, our money, our families, and our lives? And why does it matter? We will find our deepest purpose only when we discover the unique role God created for us to play in his unfolding story.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.
Meet Denver, raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana until he escaped the “Man” – in the 1960’s – by hopping a train. Non-trusting, uneducated, and violent, he spent another 18 years on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth.
Meet Ron Hall, a self-made millionaire in the world of high priced art deals -- concerned with fast cars, beautiful women, and fancy clothes.
And the woman who changed their lives -- Miss Debbie: “The skinniest, nosiest, pushiest, woman I ever met, black or white.” She helped the homeless and gave of herself to all of “God’s People,” and had a way of knowing how to listen and helping others talk and be found – until cancer strikes.
Same Kind of Different as Me is a tale told in two unique voices – Ron Hall & Denver Moore – weaving two completely different life experiences into one common journey where both men learn “whether we is rich or poor or something in between this earth ain’t no final restin’ place. So in a way, we is all homeless-just workin’ our way toward home.”
The story takes a devastating twist when Deborah discovers she has cancer. Will Deborah live or die? Will Denver learn to trust a white man? Will Ron embrace his dying wife's vision to rescue Denver? Or will Denver be the one rescuing Ron? There's pain and laughter, doubt and tears, and in the end a triumphal story that readers will never forget.
Continue this story of friendship in What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing, available now. Same Kind of Different as Me also is available in Spanish.