The Spiritual danger of doing good

Peter Greer - CEO, Hope International

Peter Greer takes a hard look at the motives of the leader.

The vast majority of social entrepreneurs begin their journey of service and mission with the best of intentions. Peter Greer, CEO of microfinance development organization Hope International and Praxis Venture Partner, discovered that despite all the care he took to guard his heart and practices against selfish motives, he was prone to "self-centered service."

In this talk, Peter contrasts the marks of self-centered service with the marks of true service for the sake of others.






WATCH (17 min)

REFLECT (3-5 min)

Spend five minutes in silence, praying and reflecting on the videos. Ask participants to jot down questions that were raised, significant key points, where they felt encouraged or challenged by the Lord, etc.

DISCUSS (40 min)

1. Peter mentioned the Gallup poll question, “Do you think you’re important?”: What is your deep down, default answer to this question? In what ways is your answer affirmed by the Gospel, and where is it confronted?

2. What is one strength and one vulnerability for your future as a leader that is revealed by your answer to Question 1?

3. Which expression or practice of self-centered service (undermining impact; undermining family; undermining ourselves) are you most prone to?

  • Undermining impact: over-exuberance; over-replication; patronizing assumptions

  • Undermining family: "leftovers"; projected performance

  • Undermining ourselves: under-appreciated; karma; overwhelmed

4. Which entrepreneurs or leaders do you know that have effectively modeled the practices and boundaries of true service that Peter discusses?

5. What practice of true service are you already strong in? What practice of true service would be most powerful for you to adopt, and what would it take to change?

  • Strengthening impact: fanatical delegation; partnership as default; success timeline

  • Strengthening families: resignation; guardrails; monitoring & evaluation

  • Strengthening ourselves: no invincibility; prophetic critique


Adopt the practice you mentioned in question 5. Find someone to keep you accountable and report the results back to your group.





Additional Readings

  • Peter Greer, The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good

  • Amy Sherman, Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, Ch 2: What Do the Righteous Look Like? (p 45-63)

  • Amy Sherman, Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, Ch 3: Why We Aren't the Tsaddiqim (p 64-76)