Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love (click to be taken to the book’s amazon page) was released August 19, 2013.
Many people have asked me how I came to write Reckless Pursuit. They want to know what inspired it. How long it took and who it was written for. The answer to all of those questions is – it has been an ever-growing journey over the past fifteen years. Here’s a brief description of how we ended up here:
In 1998, I had just graduated from college and had recently started working in my second full-time youth ministry position. As I poured myself into this ministry, I realized that one of the major pieces of leading students toward Christ had to do with what we taught them. I truly believed, and still do, that what we teach directly impacts who we become. It was foundational. Therefore, I didn’t want to default into convenience and hand over our teaching to whatever the new hot youth ministry material was pushing. I wasn’t impressed with that kind of hit and miss topical approach to spiritual formation. I needed a plan.
As I began to work on this, I was given a question…”If a student is entering our ministry as a freshmen in high school and stays with us for four years, what do I want them to know by the time they graduate?” Four years. That’s really not that much time. What is essential for them to know? What is truly core? What must be passed on in order for them to be able to seek a deep, intimate relationship with God for the rest of their lives?
With these questions in mind, I went to work. The result was a four year curriculum that I continued to use in various forms over the next decade of ministry. Here is how I defined the sequence of those years:
1. THE CHRIST: Who is Christ & How do I Follow Him?
2. THE COMMUNITY: Who are we as Followers of Christ?
3. THE TEACHINGS: What are the core teachings of Followers of Christ?
4. THE STORY: Why is Christ the fulfillment of God’s story?
I determined to teach Jesus. I would teach about who he was, what he did and the unbelievable result he can have on our lives. I would teach about who we become when we give up everything to follow him and how even our way of seeing the world is forever changed. Finally, I would teach about why Jesus is the center of everything for us. Why he is the center of our faith. And why he is the center of the ancient story – even when his name doesn’t appear in the text.
This final movement is what Reckless Pursuit grew out of. It is the retelling of the story of God in search of the fulfillment of his love…his son…Jesus, the Christ. It is the most unbelievable and beautiful story ever told. Reckless Pursuit is not the complete story. It is just the beginning, establishing the framework of the environment in which we find ourselves and the promise in which we live (the rest of the story is told in two additional parts: Reckless Presence & Reckless Provision).
And the most incredible thing about this story – it’s not dead. It’s not stuck in the ancient text. It’s not just a history of what has taken place thousands of years ago. The names and places have changed but God is the same God. His heart is still in pursuit of us with relentless passion. And those of us who allow ourselves to be caught by him, who wear his name, inherit the indescribable gifts of freedom and life.