Thirty-Minute-Life-Change: a book review

If we dedicated some time–even thirty minute increments, towards impacting our lives–clarifying our purpose, strengthening our faith, building our character, advancing our dreams, improving our relationships, or changing our world–we would be completely different. We would have a significant impact on those around us and live significant lives before God and others. We would live our dreams and do the sorts of things we wish we were doing now.

Tommy Barnett is the senior pastor of Phoenix Assembly of God.  As a pastor, he has ‘devoted his entire adult life to helping people connect with God and find better ways to live’ (vii). What is Barnett’s method for helping people achieve their full, God-given potential. It is two things: time and intentionality. In The Power of a Half HourBarnett advocates carving out 30 minute time frames for: personal development (part one and two), cultivating spiritual health (part three), moral formation (part four),  achieving success (part five), attending to our relationships (part six) and changing the world (part seven).  Each section of his book is made up of pithy chapters meant to inspire you to invest your time and intention in growing in that area. The end of the book contains thirty, thirty-minute action plans which help readers put the book’s message into practice. There are also questions for group discussion corresponding to each section.

Barnett offers some good advice: if you want to make, real lasting change to your life, grow spiritually and impact those around you, it will require time and intention.  Carving thirty minute increments devoted to personal growth seems like great advice. Barnett also illustrates this with countless stories of lives he impacted through consistently investing thirty minutes (for prayer, for reflection, for relational encounters, etc).  Half an hour is a magically time frame because it is short enough to not feel burdensome, and long enough for something substantial to happen.  I found lots of practical insights in this book.

However I did find Barnett’s recipe for personal success  overly simple. Many of the stories he shared recount thirty minute personal encounters and prayer times. Yet these are only part of the picture. The effect of his thirty minute plan is cumulative. People change because of their continuing commitment to a set of principles, practices, and persons.  Barnett understands this (as many of his examples attest) but the thirty minute rhetoric does not bear the freight of his message. I found myself agreeing with much of Barnett’s advice while feeling like his account of personal transformation was somewhat  truncated by the temporal constraints he puts on each growth opportunity. Perhaps he just finds it easier to think in half hour chunks, but I don’t.

I think there is some helpful insights in here and I found myself touched my several of Barnett’s stories, but I did not resonate with the overall tenor of the book but think that his action plan will be helpful for those seeking to make significant change to their lives. I give it three stars.

Notice of material connection: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.





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I am a pastor, husband, father, instigator, pray-er, hoper, writer, trouble-maker, peacemaker, and friend. Who are you?

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