This is a review of Craig Groeschel's new work, Chazown. This book was provided to me at no cost by WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. Chazown is the Hebrew word that is translated often as "vision". As in, "without vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)." It doesn't mean the physical ability to see, but the heart's or mind's ability to see. And churches need vision to accomplish mission.
There are some basic prerequisites for this book. If you do not believe in God or the work of Jesus Christ as Traditional Christianity defines, then you don't need to read this. This book is not designed for pew-squatters who prefer to define church by which pew is theirs or if the preacher lets them out on time. It shouldn't be read by anyone who wants to just take the church for granted, believing that church exists for their benefit or what they can get out of it. This book is for believers who seriously feel called to do something with the life and gifts that God has given them.
Chazown, according to Groeschel, is discovered at the intersection of Core Values, Spiritual Gifts, and Personal Experiences. Each section dealing with these leads readers through the basic idea and reason why they are important. As followup, there are questions and exercises that assist in identifying these in a reader's life. Once identified, Groeschel stresses 5 "spokes" that support a personal Chazown.
I picked this book because of the three emphases in the subtitle: Vision, Passion, and Purpose. I believe all three of those are critical to leaders of the church. Groeschel has given practical, and relatively simple, ways to identify those in ones own life. Churches that desire to empower their members and equip them to guide the ministry of the church would do well to use this as a study. As such this book is best used as a companion guide to discovering the components that make up Vision, Passion, and Purpose. In fact, Groeschel asks readers to use outside resources from the internet (specifically from his own church's resource pages) to supplement some of the exercises that readers are working through.
I can see this being used in a church that wants to develop its leadership. I believe it would help extend existing ministries, or maybe expand a church's ministry into new areas. It is not filled with church-speak. It uses plain language and engaging stories to get the point across without feeling like it is dumbing down the message.