About This Blog

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"inSignificant" (Chris Travis)

TITLE: inSignificant: Why You Matter in the Surprising Way God Is Changing the World
AUTHOR: Chris Travis
PUBLISHER: Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012, (160 pages).

This book is a personal journey of how the present lead pastor of a growing Manhattan Church finds his calling and his discovery of his significance by being first insignificant. Beginning with a longer than usual "about the author" section, partly disguised as chapter 1, Travis shares his brushes with meaninglessness and his struggles with his teaching stint in "the most dangerous middle school" in New York. With virtually "no support" for first time teachers on how to deal with out of control students, Travis discovers the humbling shift from meaningful work to something more meaningless, safe ministry work previously to dangerous, and a position of significance and effectiveness, to a position of insignificance and a gross lack of effectiveness. Despite his high GPA in his own academic achievements, when it comes to being a teacher, it hardly means anything. It all begins with perspective, to see that to change hearts, power is not necessarily most effective. In fact, "power is powerless" when it comes to changing the heart. Being a white in a black neighbourhood also shows him up close and personal the poverty in his city. Much of reality does not show up in modern TV and movies.Trying to teach proper manners and rules to a classroom devoid of courtesy and structure turns the author from teacher to student. For Christians, it is quite easy to speak of God's love. It is quite another thing to try to love God back.

The author discovers how much the Lord's Prayer means. He learns how difficult it is not to use "I or me" in his praying. He learns what it means to give away what God has given him, that his greatest power is to give up control what what he clings on most, especially worldly understanding of power. Some of the tips he has for churches and organizations on serving to the poor, the needy, and the marginalized in society.

  • Come alongside schools to lend a helping hand, not just wanting to do evangelism;
  • Serve with no ulterior motives (especially those evangelism nerds).
  • Embrace the diversity around us
  • Downplay the focus on significance in the world by embracing insignificance.

My Thoughts

Sometimes, Christians tend to think that when they give up something in the Name of God, they will experience moments of high, rewards, and more feelings of significance. Travis points out that the opposite is more real. When one chooses to follow Jesus, one needs to be prepared for all kinds of trials, heartaches, and dangerous risks. Sometimes, the feeling of insignificance can be overwhelming. Indeed, this book is a reminder that when we choose to follow Jesus, we are choosing to follow not just some of the way, but ALL the way. No matter what hits us, no matter how demeaning and discouraging the journey is, we learn true discipleship only when we learn to give up our own significance (like Christ), downplay our own expectations (like Christ), and then follow Christ. Until one learns true dependence on God, one has not really learnt what it really means to be desperate for God. Only when one discovers for oneself, how insignificant it is to depend on things other than God, one begins to see how significant God's power is. Some of us go through life with rose colored lens, thinking that a Christian life is meant to be smooth-going. Others simply cannot see the downsides of faith (like trials, tribulations, pain), as a direct consequence of their obedience to the call of God. Few recognizes the significance of being insignificant. Travis shows us the way on how to do the latter, take the road less traveled, and at the end of it all, to give like Jesus, live like Jesus, and to die for Jesus.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Bethany House Publishers and Graf-Martin Communications (Resourcing Leaders Program) without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment