Cover Image: Extravagant


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Member Reviews

This was a really thought-provoking read. It really challenged me to re-assess the way I view money and re-consider the ways I want to give that money back to God and His people. I loved the way that each chapter ended in ways to actually practice what Brady preached in the pages. I think this is worth the read for anyone who wants to make a step towards financial peace!

NetGalley gifted me an Advanced Reader's Copy of this text, but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

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Through relating and expounding on the parable of the Good Samaritan and others, Brady Boyd, pastor of one of America's mega-churches, shares how to enrich our lives and relationships. God provides for His believers abundantly, and in recognition and gratitude of this, the blessed can share their abundance with others in many ways.

Reassuring that God will meet readers' needs, Boyd also holds readers accountable to find ways to be extravagantly giving of themselves, their time, talents, and money to others. With the realization that all things come from God, we are also reminded to be God's hands, ears, and eyes, in serving the needs of others. It is in this service that our greatest rewards can be found.

We all need a reality and perspective check from time to time. Boyd delivers one.

My thanks t NetGalley and Howard Books for allowing me to read a copy of the book, scheduled to be published on 12/1/2020. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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As I began delving into Brady Boyd's upcoming "Extravagant: Discovering a Life of Dangerous Generosity," I found myself immersed in Boyd's central concept that guides the book - that by constantly offering up our time, talents, and hearts we can live life more like these exceptional people.

It's a basic concept that I believe in wholeheartedly.

Using the parable of the Good Samaritan, Boyd, especially early in "Extravagant," builds a testimony for living a truly compassionate and selfless life of giving freely without expectation of return.

In the early chapters of "Extravagant," Boyd weaves together personal testimony of his younger years and builds upon the theological lessons he learned and that he now teaches others as the senior pastor of New Life Church, a Colorado mega-church with seven congregations and a history of generosity.

These are compelling chapters, Boyd's humility regarding his past nicely portrayed and the lessons he learned along the way presented well.

Truthfully, up until about the halfway point I easily found "Extravagant" to be in the solid 4-star range. I admittedly struggled at times with Boyd's unapologetic embrace of what he describes as those people with "yes" faces, though I understood that he meant this as an embrace of those who fight, support, advocate, and who are, essentially, the kind of "extravagant" people that Boyd believes we're all intended to be.

However, I began to struggle mightily at about the halfway point of "Extravagant," a point where it feels like Boyd narrows the definition of what it means to be dangerously generous and, especially in the latter chapters, a point where it seems like "Extravagant" became not much more than an entitled pastor once again lecturing his flock on tithing.

If I could identify one specific section where my feelings about "Extravagant" began to change, it would likely be Boyd's not so subtle, and clearly intentional, statement that of his own congregation an estimated 70% don't tithe, a fact that seems to both bewilder and offend him.

I found this statement so completely appalling and dripping in judgment that I actually had to stop reading the book for the evening and allow it to soak in. Was I reading it incorrectly? Was I being defensive? Had Boyd, perhaps, tapped into some unresolved tithing issue in my own life (not completely impossible)?

Truthfully, no.

As the senior pastor of what he openly acknowledges to be the biggest church in his area, Boyd's words here feel like an unwarranted reprimand, and even worse a public and in print reprimand, regarding a full-on 70% of the faith community that he has been called to lead.

Think about that for a minute.

If I were a member of Boyd's congregation, I'd be gone. That would be a deal-breaker for me. If 70% of a congregation isn't tithing, or is under-tithing your "quota," then the problem isn't the congregation it's the leadership of that congregation. Yet, there's literally nowhere in "Extravagant" where Boyd questions his own leadership. Instead, he practically builds an idol of those "yes" faces that he seems to admire so much.

It feels like prosperity theology gone awry.

Extravagance, or dangerous generosity, is far too often reduced to a financial equation in "Extravagance." I mean, sure, the financial aspects of life are important. Giving of our resources generously is, in fact, something I accept we are called to do and we are called to do so faithfully and radically. Yet, by narrowing extravagance so thoroughly Boyd is actually being blind to what actually allows New Life to make a difference.

It's not money. It's God. It's faith. Boyd actually uses a brilliant example of his own at one point, an example of a woman who shows up to church despite being low on gas and funds but feeling like she's called to be there in the way that she committed to being there. She shows up in that faithfulness and, in turn, God rewards that faithfulness with answers to prayers she'd not even spoken aloud.

That's extravagance. There's a woeful lack of that kind of example here, though. I also can't help but believe, as well, Boyd fails to recognize that while money is important extravagance comes in a variety of other forms. It comes from the person who is terminally ill but shows up joyously to serve. It comes from the person who walks to church. It comes from the person who's worked hard all week yet still shows up faithfully to serve week after week after week. It comes from the person who's a caregiver all week yet they still show up to nurseries and children's ministries and disability ministries.

There are so many ways to be dangerously generous, but by the end of "Extravagant" it feels like it's been reduced to tithing 10% and giving to the church before everyone else because, of course, that's giving to God.

If 70% of a congregation isn't giving, then 70% of a congregation doesn't feel connected to the body. While, of course, you always have "takers," the truth is that if over half the congregation is taking then perhaps it's the church that's not actually living a life of dangerous generosity.

Having ministries? Oh, that's wonderful but it's not dangerous generosity. It's really not much more than evangelical check boxes. I mean, can you really say you're giving extravagantly, without expectation of return, if you're also saying in the same sentence that despite how much you give 70% of your congregation doesn't give back?


Speaking only in Boyd's own terms I suppose it comes down to this - perhaps "Extravagant" would have been more effective, at least for me, if more gratitude would have shined through because, in the end, Boyd's congregation has enough faith in his ministry and leadership that they've all extravagantly built a faith community with seven campuses and life-changing ministries. They are larger and wider in reach than a good number of faith communities and that generosity, whether it's of time or resources or finances, is worthy of celebration and using as an example of dangerous generosity rather than calling out or reprimanding over half of the congregation.

As a pastor myself, I hope and pray that God uses me to build a community where people actually want to give generously to it. In a world where congregations close regularly and even mainstream denominations wither, churches won't survive without the generous giver. More importantly, I do believe that we're called to live a life of radical generosity and to model that for the world. However, as a pastor I also don't ever want a congregation that believes that dangerous generosity begins and ends with the organized church.

It doesn't. It can't. That's not healthy and that's not life-changing for the world. I want them discovering a life of dangerous generosity by giving to non-profits, starting non-profits, serving others, helping their neighbors, volunteering, donating, starting scholarships, and so much more. I want them doing these things generously and dangerously and faithfully and, if I've pastored well, that generosity should include the church as a part of a person's dangerous generosity.

Now then, it seems like I've spent a lot of time beating up on "Extravagant." Truthfully, that's a good sign. "Extravagant" made me think and feel and pray and research and debate and argue and defend and disagree. We're allowed to do these things as a part of our faith journey and, most assuredly, I'm not always right (or wrong). There's an awful lot I appreciated about "Extravagant" and I came away from it thinking I'd actually really enjoy hanging out with Pastor Boyd and would love to visit New Life one day. These sound like amazing people.

So, while "Extravagant" didn't completely click for me I do believe the book has tremendous value and contains valuable insights, theological teachings, and conversation starters. While I certainly don't agree with everything Pastor Boyd says here, I respect the effort and appreciate that he's led me toward deeper searching about my own life of dangerous generosity and the places I'm strong and the places I'm weak.

If you've appreciated Boyd's writings in the past, you'll most likely embrace "Extravagant." With strong scriptural exegesis and a humble transparency, "Extravagant: Discovering a Life of Dangerous Generosity" will appeal strongly to evangelical Christians and those who seek a better understanding of tithing and what it means to live radically as a Christian.

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