The Gift of Disillusionment
Enduring Hope for Leaders After Idealism Fades
Hope for Leaders Facing Burnout and Discouragement
Around the world, discouragement erodes the vitality of organizations. Visionaries often succumb to cynicism. Zealous advocates give up. Leaders coast as their passion for the cause grows cold.
Grounded in research, this book is an invitation for followers of Jesus to sustain hope in long-term service. It's about moving past the false hope of idealism and the faint hope of disillusionment to discover true Christian hope.
You will gain encouragement through the study of the book of Jeremiah woven throughout as the authors explore how the Lord prophetically met and sustained Jeremiah during his lifetime of faithfulness despite literally nothing going as he'd hoped. Glean further inspiration by reading the stories of Christian leaders from around the globe: Zimbabwe, Haiti, Guatemala, Poland, Palestine, the Philippines, India, Zambia, and Lebanon. For this is a moment when we need the global Church's perspective and influence.
Don't give up and don't check out. These are confounding and perilous days, yet God's sustaining presence can bring joy, hope, and encouragement even amid heartache and disappointment.
"For anyone feeling the ever-present invitation to embrace cynicism as reality, doomscrolling as a daily habit, and isolation as a form of protection from getting your heart broken--this book will help you take a fragment of optimism and transform it into an unshakable hope."
Eric Brown, co-founder and CVO, Whiteboard
"While inspiring, The Gift of Disillusionment is also spine-straightening and convicting, cutting to the heart of the reader to strip away all delusions of self-sufficiency we are so prone to, in order to place God in His rightful place at the center of our leadership. This is an exceptionally relevant guide on how to embody long-lasting, godly leadership and effectively persevere in God's calling. This is a must-read for any Christian seeking to sustainably pursue God's call in their life."
Michael Lindsay, president, Taylor University; author of Hinge Moments
"The Gift of Disillusionment is a much-needed reminder to the body of Christ that true, enduring hope is fulfilled through our reliance on God and commitment to redemptive work. Peter Greer and Chris Horst masterfully weave Scripture with stories of exemplary servant leaders to illustrate the promise of God: that we will all experience challenges, loss, and pain, but He walks alongside us every step of the way. For those who are similarly called and committed to stepping into spaces of brokenness, this book presents principles to help press beyond cynicism and fatigue into a position of humble surrender, anchored by the knowledge that eternal hope rests solely in the goodness of God."
Vivian Long, executive director, Long Family Foundation
"Greer and Horst deliver just the wisdom and restorative insight we need in our tumultuous times. The Gift of Disillusionment is rich with healing and hopeful perspective, not the thin hope of marketing brochures but the rooted and persevering hope of Jeremiah 17. After a decade of reading and writing on hope, I nearly wept at the profound importance of this work."
Scott Todd, president, One Child
"Peter and Chris's encouraging new book gathers a poignant collection of stories about serious challenges to faith. They view them through the lens of the paradoxical blessing of disillusionment. Highlighting this theme, they remind us of an important truth: Christian works promoting justice and charity point to a new age but do not bring it about. Instead, we are left with the humility of the moment as a signpost; we are, as James says, blessed in the doing, not because of it. Yet that is the source of our energy and where our focus always should be. This blessing is essentially the same as that of the transformed world for which we long: communion with the Triune One, joy of all ages."
Douglas R. Forrester, chair, Rising Tide Capital
"From the opening declaration of The Gift of Disillusionment, through the book's final proclamation to look upward toward Christ, authors Peter Greer and Chris Horst provide a compelling case for the long view of Christ-centered leadership--sustaining a lifetime of faithful service to God despite the inevitable challenges and disappointments encountered along the journey. The narrative testimonies of biblical, historical, and contemporary leaders included in the volume provide a rich tapestry of wisdom, insights, and practical suggestions for nurturing hope even in the most difficult of circumstances. I look forward to sharing this remarkable book with the members of my leadership team."
Kim Phipps, president, Messiah University
"In my thirty-year career of working among the urban poor, I've seen too many people with idealistic, good intentions to change the world get weary in well doing and sometimes even leave the faith. This book provides a blueprint to see our challenges realistically and gives us a roadmap concerning how to not lose our faith as we do the work of the ministry."
Alvin Sanders, president and CEO, World Impact
"Grounded in Scripture and stories from around the globe, The Gift of Disillusionment is a must-read for all of us longing for hope in a world full of disappointments. It addresses the question of our day, 'How do we hold on to hope--hope that endures?'"
Tom Lin, president and CEO, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
"All of us who have led purpose-driven organizations have felt the challenges, discouragement, and personal sacrifices that accompany trying to change the status quo. At various moments in the journey of leading change, we are inevitably faced with the question, "Is it worth it?" It is at these moments that the stories and encouragement of this book are most helpful. This book challenges leaders to look upward rather than inward during discouraging times to find our true hope."
Mike Bontrager, founder and retired CEO, Chatham Financial; founder and president, Square Root Collective
"Through the stories and Scriptures interwoven in The Gift of Disillusionment, Peter and Chris remind all of us who have a heart for ministry and service that our idealism will undoubtedly be met with the realities of living in a fallen world. These realities will barrage us with waves that not only challenge our missional resolve but test the very vitality of our faith. Yet, despite the cynicism, heartache, pain, and discouragement, Peter and Chris challenge us to forge ahead because God is at work! And more times than not, His greatest work is by way of the blood, sweat, tears--and yes, faith--of those who break through the barrier of disillusionment by turning upward instead of inward, because 'He who began [this] good work will be faithful to bring it to completion!'"
Chilobe Kalambo, managing member, Kalambo Consulting
"Any leader facing the enormous challenges that come after idealism fades should read Peter and Chris's book. It offers practical, real-life stories of leaders in unimaginable circumstances who do not wallow in the cynicism of today's culture but sustain long-term service with optimism and hope. Their stories and scriptural foundation inspire me to lead differently--and in doing so, demonstrate a sustainable hope only found by faith in God."
Lisa Payne, retired chief financial officer and chief administrative officer, Taubman Centers, Inc.
"In The Gift of Disillusionment, Peter and Chris offer language for what philanthropists and nonprofit leaders know to be true: This is really hard. The complicated and messy dynamics facing givers and ministries rarely make great stories in annual reports, but they are our shared reality."
Josh Kwan, president, The Gathering
"If you have ever felt discouraged because the hopes you had for the future were dashed by the present-day reality of your life, this book is for you. Peter and Chris act as skilled guides, showing us how to hold on to hope by turning our gaze upward when everything in us wants to turn inward. Prepare to be reminded that we can dare to hope, no matter what setbacks we may face. This book will show you how!"
Jason Mitchell, teaching pastor, LCBC Church; author of No Easy Jesus
"This wise and beautiful book draws on insights from Christ-followers with decades in the trenches of a mystery: the strange place where we know it's God's job to save the world, and yet we are called to be His instruments. Greer and Horst reveal how this is the place where the gift of disillusionment awaits; the gift that strips away self-confidence and pivots our gaze upward so we can find the courage to keep moving forward. I was deeply encouraged by these saints' steadfast reliance on King Jesus and the persevering joy that emerged from that. Highly recommended for all those needing a fresh injection of realistic, informed, God-centered hope that can shrink the shadows cast by brokenness and suffering."
Amy L. Sherman, author of Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society