The Simplest Way to Change the World
By Willis and Clements
The book is laid out beautifully and has helpful application questions at the end of each chapter to make it personal. It also comes with a small group study guide at the end to make it easy to go through with a group. It’s a fairly short read packed full of real life examples and some tear jerking stories that will move you to be more hospitable. Yes! This is a book on hospitality!
Willis and Clements have written a book claiming that the simplest way to change the world is through using your home as a Biblical ground to be hospitable to others. While they mainly focus on being hospitable and getting to know your neighbors, they also include inviting people over to your home to be a part of your life in general. That means people from church, work, and despite their stage of life (i.e.: single etc.).
Overall, I think this is a very needed book for our society today. I believe in a culture where people are moving into larger houses and “safer” neighborhoods, they really are losing reasons to get to know their neighbors or even to invite others into their homes.
While I appreciate the authors sharing some of their failures while attempting to be hospitable, I think a chapter about wisdom or discernment should be added to the book. For instance, it might not be wise for a single woman to invite any and every one into her home. They also do not address the issue of race or being culturally sensitive. I believe these issues could be included in an additional chapter added about wisdom and discernment with handling tricky situations.
Therefore, I’m afraid it makes me think this book is mainly just for suburban Americans, living in neighborhoods where everyone has a similar income and home value. While I have definitely gained from the book, I believe my friends moving into the inner city would view this differently. In more dangerous neighborhoods, neighbors in general tend to get to know each other out of a need to be neighborhood “watchdogs” and keep an eye on things. In my particular neighborhood, all of our neighbors know each other for this purpose. I also live in a very financially and racially diverse neighborhood, so I will obviously apply the principles in a different way than the majority of those reading this book.
I still think the majority of people who read books will be the types of people who need this book. I especially liked the explanation of the word hospitality. I personally would have taken a stronger stance on taking every opportunity to share the Gospel, but I completely understand their explanation for this. Also, as pastors, I can see why the authors might not need to bring that up because it automatically comes up in their profession. But the average person probably needs to bring it up—lest they go on living incognito as a believer.
Ok, so I actually did enjoy the book and think it has value for readers and is worth your time. It has some awesome ideas that most people will be able to take advantage of. I am giving it a 4 out of 5 because of the reasons above. I really think this book would be best done in a small group to start discussions and get people thinking about how to use their home for the Gospel.