God of the Underdogs

52 things sons needMY TAKE: Punchy, gritty, humorous reminder that God is on our side and that odds don’t matter.




Author and Pastor Matt Keller has written a punchy, encouraging book that calls all believers everywhere to dig in, rise up and dare to believe that God is for us and not against us. His style of communication is casual, oftentimes humorous, and laced with passion. This is an exhortation from the heart of a visionary leader. For this reason leaders will love this book–and many who never saw themselves as a leader may experience a paradigm shift.

This book has an authentic ring to it. Keller shares again and again the story of his church plant and the lessons he has learned as it has become one of the fastest growing churches in the country. With authenticity and passion he drives home the point that he struggled and experienced breakthroughs and we can too.

I have read some other less favorable reviews of this book. And I will admit: perhaps one might get the feeling that this book is being marketed from a “church growth” perspective, reflecting a value system that tags “success” in numbers, quantity, size and sparkle. And perhaps one could feel like they were being exposed to an “infomercial” of sorts on the great story of Matt Keller and Nextevel Church. But for me, all of these concerns are swept away by the honesty and inclusiveness of Matt Keller. Here is a real man with real struggles who has a real testimony of God’s faithfulness. He doesn’t just say “God did this for me.” He insists “God has something unique and outside-the-box that He wants to do in you and through you.” I get the feeling that Next Level Church is a great place to fellowship and grow in the faith, and that Matt Keller is the kind of transformational leader anyone would be privileged have for a pastor.

I love the Biblical content of each chapter. Keller details the “underdog” stories of David, Paul, Jacob, John the Baptist, Jesus, Mephibosheth, Gideon, Esther and Moses, and Keller’s excellent (and often colorful) exegesis of these narratives makes this a book worth reading and passing on to others.

Here is one of many quotes I liked from the book: “God is raising up a new breed of underdogs with visions that don’t fit the old model. If your dream doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen, don’t count it out. It might just be from God. The vision God has placed in your heart might not fit in the box that you’ve seen used before. That’s okay. God is placing dreams and visions in the hearts of underdogs that have the power to change the world.”

I think that sums up what Matt Keller was trying to say in this book. He says it well.

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