#Struggles by Craig Groeschel is a timely book for today. Craig Groeschel is pastor of Livechurch.tv, the people who brought us the YouVersion Bible app. He is the author of numerous books related to Christian living. He seeks to help the Christian controlled by social media to break free and to restore Christ to His place as the proper focus of life. The book has eight main chapters and two appendices. Each chapter deals with how an over emphasis on social media disrupts a Christian’s thinking on that topic. The eight chapters deals with contentment, intimacy, authenticity, compassion, integrity, encouragement, worship, and rest. Appendix 1 gives ten commandments for using social media, and Appendix 2 provides safeguards to protect the user from any number of things that might hurt their relationship with God.
As in his other books, Groeschel is an engaging and entertaining writer. He uses humor well to make a point. The strongest chapters in the book are those dealing with compassion and worship. For the speaker or teacher looking for quotable material to illustrate a sermon or Bible study, this book has a wealthy supply. For example, “It’s almost like we’re all like we’re all lab rats, compulsively tapping a little button for food pellets: scroll-scroll-scroll, click-click-click, scroll-scroll-scroll, click-click-click! We sense that we want something more, but we just don’t have the discipline to stop and really give ourselves the opportunity to engage in relationships we know we really want.”
The appendix with the ten commandments to using social media was worth taking the time to read. Most of these, I already try to observe as I use social media. Sadly, it was an appendix. I think it could have been and should have been an important chapter in the book. Unfortunately, many readers don’t read an appendix. If Groeschel ever decides to do a follow-up book, I hope that he will expand on this section.
The one glaring weakness in the book is that in sections where Groeschel had an opportunity to make much of Jesus, he did not. For example toward the end of the chapter on contentment, he began to write about how true we find true contentment in Jesus. However, during the section on application, rather than explain how one can find satisfaction in Jesus, he gave a brief list of do’s and do not’s related to using social media. On a more positive note, overall the book does hold Jesus up as the true source for meeting the needs people try to meet with social media. Groeschel particularly does so in the chapter on worship. However, I was disappointed that in the contentment chapter, he did not do so as much as I would have liked.
As I read the book, I thought of how the book might be used in a local church. I teach young adults, and this would be an excellent book for a study. (An accompanying DVD study, it on its way apparently.) However, it would be a mistake to assume this book is just for millennials. As I look at social media, I see it misused and abused quite often by my fellow residents of middle age. This book provides valuable and needed correction. Pastors and other ministers might want to keep a few copies to give to those struggling with social media addiction. If you cannot find it at your local Christian bookseller, you might compare prices here and here.
Full Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from BookLookBloggers.com for review purposes. I was under no obligation to give the book a positive review.