Holy Zeal, Chapter 1, U-Turn Church

This summary is a series of key quotes directly from the book. All words in quotation marks (unless from scripture) are from “The U-Turn Church” by Kevin G. Harney and Bob Bouwer.

Great programs, a new strategy, and reading this book are not enough to bring an enduring U-turn experience to your church. The essential piece in any real U-turn is what we like to call Holy Zeal.”

A true U-turn is never birthed in the heart of a church leader or a desperate Church board, rather it comes from the loving heart of God. A U-turn is not about saving your church, filling our worship center with more people, and impressing our denominational Leaders with our yearly report, or increasing our offering so we can pay the bills and keep our church afloat for another year.”

A U-turn is about the glory of God, the name of Jesus, the health of his bride (the church), and reaching a world that is in desperate need of a savior. The only way a True U-turn fire will be ignited and continue to burn is when the Zeal of God’s heart consumes us and we long for what he longs for. What burns brightest in the heart of God? What are his dreams?”

What is Holy zeal?

“Pure and simple, it is the heart of God beating in the heart of his people. It is a hunger for the glory of God to pour into a church and overflow into the community. It is a longing for more than a church “circling the wagons” mark so the world won’t get in. It is a spirit-prompted discontent with church being only about keeping the sheep in the pen and well-fed. It is a burning desire to see people enter a relationship with the God who loves them and who entered human history to show them the way back home and into his arms. Holy Zeal is a passionate commitment to count the cost, be willing to sacrifice, and follow Jesus into his ministry of making disciples of all nations.”

When Jesus is on the throne of a local Church, Holy Zeal is in abundant Supply. When we have forgotten our first love, this seal is scarce.”

if your ministry has become focused on the people more than on the one who created the heavens and the Earth, it is time to adjust your vision. If your church is content doing nice things for a group of nice people who all meet weekly to enjoy each other’s niceness, you have lost your way and forgotten why the church exists.”

The Maturity of God’s People

“Holy Zeal also grows when we seek to help God’s people become truly mature in faith. A church that is focused on pampering believers and coddling Christ-followers will lack Holy Zeal. The Apostle Paul sets the bar very high. He says that we are to help people become “mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

“Let that settle into your soul.”

“The vision of God is for us to continue being shaped and formed into the likeness of our savior. This does not happen overnight. It does not come spontaneously as we wander aimlessly through life. Maturity comes as we walk with Jesus, feed on his word, and live for him in this world.”

“The more we are filled with this holy Zeal the more we will be like Jesus. As the Holy One Of Heaven is formed in us, his Zeal becomes ours. His dreams fill our waking hours. His glory becomes are consuming passion. And we want the things that will most glorify him.”

“A church that wants to make a serious and sustained u-turn will call believers to new levels of Holiness, faithfulness, and Ministry. This happens in many ways, big and small, and we will explore these in the coming chapters of this book.”


U-Turn Excercise – The Highlighter Test

List all the activities your church does

Mark all those that are mainly directed toward those who already know Jesus with one colour, and all those you do primarily for people who have still not entered into a life-giving relationship with God through Jesus. Do the same with your church budget.

With those lists before you, spend time reflecting on and discussing what they reveal.

End of Chapter One discussion questions:

“What is motivating us to make the desired U-Turn?

Are we driven by healthy motives or by motives that won’t sustain our journey?

Was there a time when our church had a holy zeal for God and our community?

If so, how have things changed?…”

What are we doing now to bring the love and grace of God to our community? What steps could we take to be more engaged in communicating the life-savi…” – “the life-saving message of Jesus?”


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