Vanderstelt has a vision. "...Jesus saturation – every man, woman and child in every place having an encounter with Jesus through words spoken and deeds done through his people." (13)
At one of their community dinners, the seed was planted. What if people feasted and celebrated around Jesus together? What if people's homes were some of the primary places where ministry took place?
The concept was to see the church no longer disconnected from everyday life. God is seen working through people in their daily acts of life. We learn “to see all of life as sacred and every action as part of God's missionary work in the world.” (42) Life is lived so people are visible and accessible. Discipleship becomes life-on-life, happening all the time in work and play.
“We need to train people how to live everyday life with gospel intentionality, showing what it looks like to follow Jesus in the normal stuff.” (170) Everyday events were identified to engage people in the light of the gospel. Eating is one of those daily rhythms where people can meet others in their neighborhood. Several others were identified as well.
I really like this concept of being in the community, sharing life lived in the light of the gospel. The ideas of how to do that are many. One unique way of serving the community was offering to drive people home after a city pub crawl. Bartenders were given phone numbers of volunteers willing to take home those who should not be driving.
Vanderstelt tells many stories of how people impacted their communities. What an encouragement to read of a church really making a difference to those around them. They were asked, “Why are you doing this?” They could offer a gentle answer about sharing the grace and love they have received through Jesus.
This is a very encouraging book. I would recommend it to pastors, church boards, and Christians in general. This book will get you excited about ministering to the needs right in your very own neighborhood. Appendixes have been added that have valuable resources for setting up missional communities including samples of covenant materials.
Vanderstelt suggests that each of us, “Live in such a way that it would demand a 'Jesus explanation.' In other words, you wouldn't be able to explain what you do or why without needing to talk about Jesus.” (182)
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader for the Soma Family of Churches and the lead teaching pastor at Doxa Church in Bellevue, Washington.
Crossway, 256 pages.