Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson

February 22, 2010 by

2010_02_22primal.jpgThe premise of Washington, D.C., pastor Mark Batterson’s latest book is the greatest commandment found in Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” He focuses on those four components of a person–heart, soul, mind and strength–to get at the very heart of Christianity. Essentially, Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity offers a full-person butt kicking.

Batterson explores how we need to use all four of these components in our journey to know God. If we lack in any area, we’re not getting the full experience and we’re missing out. That’s where it becomes a full-body butt kicking, as we realize the areas where we’re not reaching our potential. But Batterson is always encouraging, diving into each area with passion and curiosity, offering suggestions and insights into how to pursue God in each area.

Engaging the whole person is why this book matters for a church communication site. Too often our spirituality is simply about the heart or the soul. In doing so, we lose out on the imagination. Batterson argues that “the church ought to be the most creative place on the planet,” (113) but instead “the greatest threat to the future of the church is a failure of our God-given imagination” (112). Dreaming and creating are two powerful acts of worship and important aspects of our journey with God. That’s something a communicator can get behind.


But there’s also the reminder that dreaming alone doesn’t get us anywhere. There comes a time when we need to go beyond praying, loving or dreaming and do something. We need to take action in the strength of our bodies. It’s through doing that we show our love and our passion. We give life to our creativity through sweat and we make our theology a reality in our work. And that work is never easy, but anything worth doing is hard.

Here Batterson gives us a good reminder about perseverance: “We’re not creative because it’s too hard. And we give up too easily. … The greatest predictor of success in any endeavor is persistence. It’s not only how hard you try, it’s also how long you try. We tend to overestimate how much we can accomplish in the short term. But we underestimate how much we can accomplish over the long haul” (136-138).

So for anyone involved in helping their church communication I’d recommend Batterson’s Primal. We could all use the reminder that we need to love God with our whole being, not just our heart and our soul, but also our mind and our strength. Our creativity, imagination and sweat are often overlooked components in communicating the matters of God.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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4 Responses to “Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson”

  • Danny Bixby
    February 22, 2010

    Haven’t got a chance to read this yet. Heard good things though. Thanks for the recommendation.


  • David Springstead
    February 22, 2010

    I was among a group of bloggers that was offered the chance to receive an early copy of this book for the purpose of review. It is, without question, one of the best books I’ve ever read dealing with the state of today’s church and what needs to be done to help us reclaim our mission. I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a way to create renewal within their local church. It would make an excellent church wide study as well.


  • Dana
    February 25, 2010

    I am going to get this book. I’ve been waiting for someone to update “Beyond Mediocrity”, and this looks like it.
    I would like to know how to engage people’s minds. Too often, I find well-intentioned heart, soul, and strength going off without a brain.


  • Beat Attitude
    March 2, 2010

    Does it comment on the fact that without the gospel it is impossible for us to love God in any of these 4 ways, and any method that prescribes ways to love God without realising this is destined to become another sophisticated works-based religious philosophy which binds, rather than frees us?
    I hope so!



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