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Posted September 1, 2013
Many of us engage in doing God’s work on earth through Christian acts. We find satisfaction, pride and self-worth in doing good for others in God’s name. Success can be a trap, however. The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good explains the dangers and what happens when Christian service and good works lead to burnout, pride, or sin. It also advises readers on changing course.
Peter Greer gives a candid account of how this can happen, using his experiences as CEO of HOPE International, a large Christian nonprofit that serves those in need by helping them help themselves. Greer uses stories from his own life and others in ministry to help readers protect themselves from disillusionment, vanity, and other dangers. He uses a wide variety of examples and situations as teaching tools with which readers can identify. If the reader fails to recognize himself in one chapter’s situation, he is sure to come face to face with himself in another.
This book serves as a compassionate warning to everyone who works in ministry or charitable nonprofits, from CEOs to weekend volunteers. It is easy to become obsessed with results, success, growth and progress in our ministries. Greer advises using God’s measuring stick, rather than our own. Readers should be ready for some challenging and uncomfortable admissions of guilt and should pay attention to Greer’s advice on repenting and working with love, for the glory of God.
The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good includes end-of-chapter questions for personal reflection or group discussion as well as Scriptural and Internet references and pictures.
I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. This book is highly recommended for all who work in any Christian ministry and who seek to make their lives Christ-centered.
Posted August 5, 2013
I have served as chaplain of music teams, soccer team, honors council, and currently serve as student body president. Needless to say, I am accustomed to being a do-gooder and feeling the pressure of a spotlight on me as a spiritual leader. This book was a refreshing wake up call about the importance of having real relationships with mentors and accountability friends to help me keep my heart pure as I serve in these roles. We are always encouraged to do good but it is important to be aware of what can happen when we slowly lose focus of why we are serving. I strongly recommend this book to any Christians in leadership. It strikes the balance of challenging and encouraging us through honest and personal stories of Peter's experiences serving in various ministries and at HOPE International.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2013
I read an advanced reader's copy of Spiritual Danger of Doing Good and instantly knew this book carried a critical message for Christian leaders. Peter Greer vulnerably shares his own stories of burnout and pain while exposing an "unspoken secret" facing Christian leaders: No matter how amazing the work is you're doing, you will collapse if you lose sight of your soul. The story-driven writing style made the book a very quick read, but these examples woven through the text have stuck with me. I can't give this book a stronger endorsement. You will be changed because of it. And those around you will as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 28, 2013
With all the books out there on charity and "doing good," it was interesting to read one on its apparent dangers. While this book covers stuff like financial ruin, volunteer betrayal, and family crises, it focuses much more on the heart of the do-gooder. Readers come to understand that doing good works does not guarantee blessings--Christian karma as the book calls it. Readers will also grasp how they can be incredibly selfish even when they are serving others. For instance, if you have a charity organization named after you with your face plastered all over media, pride can start to slip it...if it has not already. This book was a fun read that held my attention. What I didn't like so much was one nuance in the book where Pharisees were discussed. The book gave the impression that the "heavy burdens" the Pharisees placed on people were related to biblical law. However, historically speaking, the Pharisees pushed man-made tradition on people. Yeshua (Jesus) promoted the Torah (Matt 5) and did not consider it a burden. However, I perhaps I am being too harsh. Very few mainstream Christian teachers know the difference between the Torah and the Talmud.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2013
Peter's humility and openness allow this to be a book full of lessons and insight...but only those lessons he's learned by doing. I was both convicted and compelled while reading this book that anyone in the business of 'doing good' can relate to. Many of Peter's stories hit very close to home and made me realize how susceptible I can be to some of these 'dangers." Highly recommended to anyone in the business of service...local pastors, missions leaders, missionaries, development workers, etc.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2013
This is a prophetic book for anyone involved or wants to be involved in helping others at any level. Peter, throughout the book, used his past failures as an example and reference to the message he wanted to convey in the book. Even though the book examines issues that are deeper and beyond the surface, it is never judgmental. Peter never presents himself in the book as a specialist but as a person who is in a process of learning from his success and failures. Because of this very reason, the book smells like very human (NOT angelic). And it is easy to relate to the stories and related principles drawn from them. So often writers are considered specialists and beyond reproach. That creates a gap between the readers and the writers. It in effect kills the desire to follow the principles they raise in their books; particularly for books that focus on Character and Attitude. Peter speaks about motives, pride, lie, exaggeration, the desire to be a hero and other sins that could easily trap us while helping others. He clearly shows us that none of us are naturally immune from these traps. He also shows us practical ways of protecting and guarding ourselves from all these sins.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 19, 2013
This book, much like Peter's first, is filled with stories of his direct experience as the president of a world class development network, HOPE International. In SDDG he details many of his own shortcomings in a writing style that has the technical clarity of his past writings while integrating the deeply emotional honesty of Bob Goff. This is a book of wisdom; not just knowledge. It is full of stories that illustrate lessons learned and should be read by anyone that is looking to learn how to live better.
Posted July 19, 2013
Can doing good have a dark side? The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good offers a refreshing look at why we serve and the need to be aware of our ministry blind spots. Greer's vulnerability in retelling his personal story serves as a compassionate warning to ministry leaders worldwide. A must read for anyone in the business of serving others - I highly recommend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2013
I could not put this book down once I got started! The stories are so entertaining and make strong points about the slippery slopes to be avoided in serving others. As a recent seminary graduate, anyone responding to a calling to ministry should make this book an annual read and calibration point. It's challenging and inspirational. Greer & Haggard do an excellent job in clearly articulating such a complex topic. This book is the best gift you could give to any ministry leader that has influence in your life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2013
I received an advanced reader copy of The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, thinking it would be similar to When Helping Hurts because Greer is the leader of a microfinance charity. So I was surprised that the danger Greer is speaking of is internal danger to the giver. This book should be required reading for every minister, every person in church and charity leadership and every nonprofit junkie. The chapters are short and each covers a specific danger that comes from doing too much without paying attention to your life. Greer's honesty is disarming and allows you to identify with him without embarrassment. One word of caution: Read it only for yourself first, not for "all the people you know who should read this book."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.