You notice one thing very quickly when reading Reset: Jesus Changes Everything by Nick Hall: this guy is passionate about reaching the next generation for Jesus. His passion is obvious in just about every sentence of Reset, and he has a reckless faith in Jesus that is contagious.
This book is his clarion call to a generation, declaring that all the challenges they face can be met in Jesus. Self-image, relationships, purity, habits—all of them can be reset by Jesus. Hall is calling his generation up to something higher and bigger. I can imagine this book being very helpful to many young people as they consider how Jesus’ influence can permeate every area of their lives. The true value of this book is to be found in its call to systematically surrender each area of our lives to Jesus.
Hall mentions the planning for Together 2016 multiple times in the book: an event with the goal of drawing one million people to the National Mall in Washington DC. The book released before this event, and was intended in part to promote it. Together 2016 place on July 16 and drew an estimated 500,000 people. Unfortunately, the event had to be shut down early because of safety concerns due to the heat. Now, it is difficult to quantify the impact of an event like Together 2016, but despite the early ending, reports are very positive. There is now an effort to get people plugged into churches and serving in the wake of this event. However, I would estimate far less energy being dedicated to this effort than to the hype leading up to the event.
Which brings us to my major criticism of this book: Hall tends to lean into the hype too much. At times, I got the impression I was reading a collection sound bites from some his messages to thousands of gathered young people. This is all well and good, but following Jesus is a process, not an event. Just as I imagine thousands walking away from Together 2016 with a newfound sense of purpose, but no idea how and where to put it into action—this is how I felt after reading this book: excited, fired up, and completely aimless.
The systematic surrender of our lives to Jesus was meant to take place in the authentic community offered by the church, but Hall leaves this part out. In fact, most of the times Hall mentions church it is in a negative context—pointing out the judgmental attitudes and irrelevancy of many churches. This generation is not lacking for passion, what we are lacking for is authentic community in which to cultivate authentic faith. Hall, with his event-centric approach seems to have no category for this, and as a result his book—and events—will do little to change the trend of passionate-yet-disconnected young people stumbling in and out of churches across America.
Of course, this trend isn’t Hall’s fault. Churches themselves need a “reset” in how they engage young people. In Reset, the passion is palpable, but there is an irresponsible over-focus on our individual relationship with Jesus. In short, this is a book written for individuals in a crowd, not a community of believers determined to reach their world for Christ. And as such, in many ways, it is a missed opportunity.
Nick Hall narrates the audiobook version himself, and he does a great job.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audiobooks at christianaudio.com.