SoulPrint, Discovering Your Divine Destiny, by Mark Batterson

Batterson has become a popular writer in recent years with such books as “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day”, “Wild Goose Chase”, and “Primal”. He is an innovative communicator, particularly appealing to the 20-something crowd that National Community Church attracts. I have to admit up front that when I started the book I wasn’t too excited. I’m not typically a fan of books that are designed to help me discover the inner me. But he began to win me over more with each chapter.

The book follows key events in the life of King David of the Old Testament, using these events to explore different aspects of our “soulprint”. What is this “soulprint”? According to Batterson, “Your fingerprint uniquely identifies you and differentiates you from everyone else who has ever lived, but your fingerprint is only skin deep. You possess a uniqueness that is soul deep. I call it your soulprint. It’s not just who you are, present tense. It’s who you are destined to become, future tense.”

I particularly resonated with his thoughts on integrity – from the chapter entitled “The Crags of the Wild Goats”.  Batterson states, “We fixate on what and when and where. God’s primary concern is always who. And He won’t get you where He wants you to go until you become who He wants you to be.”  He also advises, “And this is what happens when you compromise your integrity. You have to always look over your shoulder. Instead of being able to focus all your energy on looking ahead, you have to waste energy looking back. You can’t focus on where you’re going because you have to cover up where you’ve been.”

Authenticity is a popular theme in this book (as in so many books coming from young writers today). Batterson spends time explaining the Johari Window http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window, as a good tool for maintaining authenticity. This classic tool describes four quadrants of life that exist for each of us based on what you know about ourselves, and what others know about us. He believes the Soulprint resides in that quadrant described as those things you don’t know about yourself and that others don’t know about you. Only God knows these things about you.

This small book, taken from a series of messages he delivered at his church, is full of personal stories and observations. It is clear that Batterson is striving for that authenticity about which he writes. It is a good read for anyone asking the “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” questions.

Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. To download a free copy of the first chapter of this book (and a bunch of other books), go to http://www.scribd.com/waterbrook.

EPIDEMIC

Talking with several pastors lately, it seems there is an epidemic in many of our churches. I often challenge pastors to lead. For the most part our people want a pastor who leads (not controls or dictates but leads). But many churches are being held back by a minority of people who resist leadership because they want to be in control. These people stubbornly hold on to leadership positions in the church in an attempt to repel any real change.

One of my favorite books is Unfreezing Moves by Bill Easum. Using a circle divided into four quadrants Easum describes four different attitudes of church people. The first, and most dysfunctional is defined by the question “Who is in control?” This quadrant describes the kind of people I am referring to. These people  ignore the mission, run counter to the values and are blind to the vision. Another book (can’t recall the title off the top of my head) refers to them as C.A.V.E. dwellers (constantly against virtually everything).

I would highly recommend Easum’s book for strategies to overcome the people who are keeping the church frozen.

Pastor JT

I met James Taylor of Soul Central Church http://www.soulcentralchurch.org/ in Portsmouth VA today. This guy has such a passion for the city! He has potential for bringing real change to an urban area that few people want to even touch. He is sharp, understands the community he is serving, and willing to do what it takes. His only problem has been finding a church in that city willing to partner with him in a real way. As a church planter  starting from scratch with no financial backing he is up against big odds. But, I’d be willing to bet he’s gonna make it. I just hope I can make some connections and find him some support.