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  • Dr. Dave Rueter

Book Review "Didn’t See It Coming" by Carey Nieuwhof

In his latest, book, Didn’t See It Coming, pastor, blogger, and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof, offers insights on the often missed warning signs of trouble that infiltrate our lives and threaten to undo the work that we dedicate our lives to. Drawing upon his own struggles that left him spiritual and emotionally drained, Nieuwhof warns readers about the often subtle ways in which we compromise and weaken the integrity of who we are. Having been brought to the point of his own design to end his life, Nieuwhof understand very personally the dangers of ignoring the state of our personal being.

The book explores seven challenges that Nieuwhof believes often go unseen, and yet wreak tremendous havoc in the professional and personal lives of Christians and non-Christians alike. He discusses the influence of cynicism, compromise, disconnection, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and emptiness. “The implosions often come as a surprise. That’s what happened to me…They simply didn’t see it coming.” According to Nieuwhof, his warning is needed due to the subtle nature of these seven issues that often quietly undermine the integrity of our character before we even notice a change in ourselves.

Having been familiar with Carey Nieuwhof through the many colleagues who read his blog and listen to this leadership podcast, I was expecting a quality book. What I did not anticipate was the level of open venerability contained in its pages. Rather than reading a lecture on how to avoid these struggles, the author welcomed you into his life and ministry, encouraging the reader to join the struggle to maintain the character and integrity to avoid these traps. Knowing that his influence reaches well beyond those who share his faith, Nieuwhof even addresses how to find value in what he has learned if the reader does not share his metaphysical worldview.

For leaders in any field looking to avoid the crumbling caused by a compromised character, Didn’t See It Coming is an excellent help. Church workers, volunteer church leaders, and others in your congregation who lead in their businesses and community will find value in the book. Naturally, since Nieuwhof is not Lutheran he is not going to address the Christian faith in a Lutheran manner, however, since the book was more focused on character and leadership in a manner that as open to those who believe in Christ as those who do not, his approach seemed a fair, mere Christianity form of the faith. This is not a book to seek deep theological reflection on these subjects, but rather a generally Christian approach to maintaining a Christ-like character. Didn’t See It Coming would make for an excellent book study for your church or school staff as well as for a lay leadership team seeking to support their staff.

Link to book:​

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