Search for Significance


This book has helped millions of readers learn how to be free to enjoy Christ’s love while no longer basing their self-worth on their accomplishments or the opinions of others. Billy Graham recommended this book saying, “The Search for Significance should be read by every Christian.” Search addresses four critical areas of self-worth and self-confidence. What makes this book so uniquely powerful is understanding that the journey begins in a very private place—your thoughts. “When I fail at something, I feel lousy about myself. When others do not approve of me, I can’t seem to get over it. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never measure up.” One by one, McGee confronts the lies, dismantles them, and points believers to a higher truth. Search is a necessary read to reinforce proper beliefs or to help those with self-worth challenges. McGee’s pinnacle work will help every disciple become properly self-aware and understand how significant they are to God!

Key Topics or Truths

Type A Believers
Shame and Guilt
Understanding Your Salvation

This Book is Good For...

I think this book is great for everyone. My wife thinks that it doesn’t apply to everyone (she has solid self-worth!) But even if someone does not struggle with self-worth issues, the material is incredibly valuable for their future when they lead others (who may have those issues) in discipleship. As well, McGee does an excellent job of sharing the foundational doctrines of salvation as he addresses each self-worth challenge.

How I Use this Book to make disciples

My reading plan for Search is to break it into six sections over six weeks. The disciples read the assignment and complete the related workbook section before the discipleship meeting.

  1. Cover and discuss the introductory chapters.
  2. Cover and discuss the Performance Trap and the solution, justification.
  3. Cover and discuss the Approval Addict and the solution, reconciliation.
  4. Cover and discuss the Blame Game and the solution, propitiation.
  5. Cover and discuss Shame and the solution, regeneration.
  6. Cover and discuss the concluding chapters.

My method for discussion is:

  1. I ask, “What is _____________ about?” letting the disciples give their answers. Consistent with the Sustainable Discipleship Model, I treat each answer as an individual discussion between myself and the disciple not allowing crosstalk between disciples.
  2. During weeks 2-5, I ask the disciples their score on the week’s test. I ask them whether they believe their score is a correct indication of their self-worth.
  3. I ask the disciples to tell me their highlights of the chapters and workbook. I am looking for what “hit them”, truths they may have missed, and misunderstandings.
  4. I add my highlights.
  5. I ask them to determine two action steps that they will take in relation to what they have learned. If this is not an area of struggle for them, I suggest preventative action steps or ask them how they can use this truth as they live and reach others for Christ.

I do not assign any other outside reading in these weeks because I want them to sit on the wisdom and have time for introspection and processing. I do not assume that anyone has an issue. I ask questions like, “How did you like this chapter?” and “Did any of this apply to you?” allowing the Holy Spirit to work. I leverage the group sharing of test scores to support the work of disciples getting comfortable with transparency and trusting one another. When I know a disciple well, I often push against “This does not apply to me..” comments seeking to make sure that the disciple is self-aware. I often prime the discussion each week with a personal story of when I struggled in one of these areas. I never act as a therapist.

I love this book because it teaches the foundational truths of justification, reconciliation, propitiation, and regeneration in a relevant way by relating them to four key challenges that most face in life: being too performance-oriented, being an approval addict, blaming others, and wrestling with shame. I have seen hundreds of people find freedom in one or more of these areas through the text and workbook. I also love this book because when a disciple says, “This does not apply to me,” I know more than ever that McGee’s writing and the Holy Spirit have a great work to do.

Real Life Story

I know countless stories of how Search has set disciples free. I faced my own performance issues trying to please God with my behavior. I realized that when I blame someone else I am really trying to lift myself up. The truths in this book have helped me avoid these self-worth pitfalls as I live for Christ. Search has been incredibly valuable in helping to identify and correct self-worth issues. Even better, I have seen this book transform how disciples view other people leading them to offer God’s unconditional love and acceptance as they view every person as a significant creation of a loving God.

Know Issues or Controversies

There are no known controversies or problems with this text.

The greatest challenge is that some disciples do not like the four self-tests in the book. I stress that the tests are meant to provoke thought, challenge, and be disruptive rather than provide absolute, conclusive results.

MULTIPLE VERSIONS: Later printings reorganized chapters which can make it difficult to assign consistent reading. Try to use the same version as those you disciple.

Share this post

Notify me of new posts

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robert S. McGee
Book Details
Reading Time
Six Weeks
Related Reads

This is the second book that I assign for outside reading. I do not pair it with any other reading. I have disciples read it in Discipleship One beginning in week eighteen after Quick Smart Start

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

How to Make Disciples

Two Chapter Preview

How to Make Disciples

Choose your preview format...