One Small Step: The Life-Changing Adventure Of Following God’s Nudges, by Matthew Barnett
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This book is probably best for those who meet one of several qualities. Are you fond of and knowledgeable of the history of the Assemblies of God? Have you heard of the author before and are you fond of the Dream Center and their activities in the Los Angeles area? Did you know that the author was the son of a famous minister (who, sadly, I had not been familiar with)? Are you interested in hearing more about the author’s life and fundraising efforts and only a little bit about the Bible itself? The more of these questions can be answered in the affirmative, the more it will be possible for the reader to enjoy what this book has to offer. The more the answers are answered in the negative, the more difficult it will be for the reader to care about the author’s own adventures in following God’s judges because of its limited applicability in applying to the life of the reader. As is frequently the case when reading a book where a memoir is marketed as a Christian living book, one’s interest in this book depends to a great extend on one’s existing interest in the author.
This book is about 200 pages long and after a foreword by Jentezen Franklin as well as acknowledgements and an introduction, the book consists of thirteen steps that appear to be based at least in part on various twelve-step programs that help addicts. The author talks about the importance of following nudges (1), changing one’s life (2), and steps that one thinks one cannot take (3). After that there is a discussion of making everything a big deal (4), small steps that are life-changing (5), and stepping on toes (6). The author discusses stepping out of oneself (7), what you do when you feel you cannot move (8), and small thoughts (9) that can have a big impact. There are chapters on having the attitude of a servant (10), taking risks (11), looking to the future (12), and leaving a local legacy (13). In all of these chapters the author discusses his own life history as well as his own actions as a pastor and urban missionary serving the poor and drug-addled in the Los Angeles area.
One of the ironies of this book is that although the author talks a lot about being less selfish, this book is intensely self-absorbed, and it is unlikely that the author has the requisite self-awareness to realize that his problems with being easily provoked and being too consumed about himself are not only problems of the past but also, at least if this book is any indication, problems in the present as well. Over and over again the author expects the reader to care that it was difficult for him to grow up as the son of a famous pastor even if that meant he became a pastor at the age of twenty when, if his present maturity is any indication, he was definitely a novice. The author touts his own commitment to the area he is in as well as his fundraising skills and the help he got from his father. All of that is well and good if you can enjoy those privileges and benefits, but alas, not everyone can. It is unclear if the author was intentionally trying to write a lot about himself or if he actually thought he was saying a lot about God’s workings that would be of interest to a wide audience.