Excerpted from The Next Level by David Gregory. Copyright © 2008 by David Gregory. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
DAVID GREGORY is the author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, A Day with a Perfect Stranger, The Next Level, The Last Christian, and the coauthor of the nonfiction The Rest of the Gospel. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning Master's degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and the University of North Texas. A native of Texas, he now lives in the Pacific Northwest.
1. Level One (Chapters 1-4)
What’s the predominant outlook on life by employees on Level One? In other words, what do they see as the bottom-line reality of life? What do they seek as a result?
2. How common is this outlook in the world around you? Give examples. Do you find anything wrong with this outlook? If so, what exactly? Explain why.
3. Consider your priorities and goals in light of how you spend your time and money. In what ways do you have the same outlook as Level One employees?
4. Why does living as Level One employees do appeal to us? How does living this way fall short of our reason for being?
5. What do you think Logan’s aims are at the beginning of the book?
6. Level Two (Chapters 5-6)
What’s the predominant outlook of employees on Level Two? How do you see this outlook lived out around you?
7. Is there anything wrong with living to be ethical, or moral, or good, as Level Two people are doing? Is that to be the primary goal of our lives? Is there something more important than being good? If so, what?
8. In what ways do you buy into the outlook of Level Two as the primary purpose behind things you do? Give examples.
9. International Operations of Level Two is focused on the good deeds it can accomplish overseas–something that, on its face, is an excellent thing. How could this focus still miss the purpose of the Director and Shareholder? How does this affect your view of good deeds in the world? What about in your own life?
10. Level Three (Chapters 7-8)
On Level Three we encounter illustrations of people with differing views of ultimate reality–the nature of God, the nature of the universe/existence, and the meaning of life. Why is it easy for people to define ultimate reality as they would like it to be, instead of how it may actually be? How easy is it to see when this is happening in our own lives? Explain.
11. Take a look at your own dreams in life. What would you prefer ultimate reality to be like? (For example, a God who gives you what you want, or a God who rewards you for commendable self-effort.)
12. In what ways do your preferences concerning life make you susceptible to a skewed image of ultimate reality? Does your view of ultimate reality have a basis in fact that you can defend? Explain.
13. Level Four (Chapters 9-12)
Based on chapter 9, what appears to be the predominant outlook of Level Four employees? In what ways do your attitudes about life mirror this outlook?
14. Based on chapters 10 and 11, what is the truer picture of Level Four’s outlook on life? What are employees there really seeking? In what ways might you be seeking the same thing? What problems and disappointments (such as Ben expresses near the end of chapter 11) result on Level Four from this outlook on life? How do you relate to these problems and disappointments in your life?
15. How would you summarize the theme of the various seminar workshops in Chapter 11? What may be wrong with that theme? What would you say is the primary problem with the outlook of Level Four employees?
16. Does your outlook parallel that of Level Four employees? Explain how. What results does this produce in your life? Why don’t employees on Level Four experience the fulfillment that they expect upon arriving there? In what ways does this characterize your life?
17. Level Five (Chapters 13-15)
Why is outlook–the way people look at life–critical to Level Five? What is the predominant outlook of this level?
18. What is the principal change in outlook from Level Four to Level Five? Which of these outlooks most characterizes you now? Explain.
19. Why does seeing as the Director sees lead to producing the company’s true product? How does one learn to see as the Director sees?
20. How would you summarize the goal of employees on Level Five? To what degree is this goal yours in life too?
21. Near the end of chapter 15, the Director indicates that, contrary to Logan’s expectation, Logan isn’t yet capable of deciding whether he wants to work for his own sake or for the Director’s. Why is that the case? What does the Director tell Logan he needs to do instead? How does this relate to you?
22. What is your reaction to the last three paragraphs of the book? What do these paragraphs say about your own life?
23. The Next Level Overall
How would you characterize the Director’s heart toward Logan? What are the highest priorities, respectively, of the Shareholder and the Director?
24. How are these priorities reflected on Level Five? To what degree are they reflected in your life?
25. Why aren’t the outcomes of Levels One through Four regarded as real profit?
26. How have Levels One through Four in your life been training grounds to prepare you for Level Five?
27. What are the three main lessons you took away from The Next Level?
28. What do you think happens to Logan’s friend Kyle after the end of the book? What are your hopes for him?