Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Inspiring, Disturbing, Well-Written Challenge to Every Christian

Saturate Field GuideJeff Vanderstelt urges the Christian to consciously model Christ's example at all times, in all matters – as he puts it in this book's subtitle, “Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life.” The author describes his vision as “Jesus saturation – every man, woman and child in every place having a daily encounter with Jesus through words spoken and deeds done through his people.”
Vanderstelt tells some inspiring stories of successful ministry, but never minimizes the effort involved. He explains that the process for “saturation” involves great effort, with strong and steady faith in God's guidance and provision, within the context of a group of disciples. As most of us learn very quickly, that group is composed, like a classic western movie, of the good, the bad, and the ugly. And at various times, each one of us plays every one of those roles. Many believers would question their fitness for the task of radically witnessing through daily words and deeds, so Vanderstelt assures the reader that God is not “looking for the most impressive person because he already is that person.” Instead, it “has always been God's intention to choose normal, everyday people and to show his amazing power and glory through them.” While assuring each individual that they can serve God, the biblical principle of serving as part of a local group of believers is emphasized.

This book can benefit every believer. It clearly explains why saturation is a biblical goal and presents compelling evidence that it can be carried out in contemporary society.

I found some of the examples of ministry that Vanderstelt provides to be unsettling, and question the appropriateness of enabling people while they participate in pub crawls or gay pride festivals. These [and other] activities are not crucial to explaining the principles of saturation, I think their inclusion serve only to distract readers from the essentials.

Other sections of the book were unsettling in a very helpful way. The reader is confronted with the challenge to be able to defend his faith and present the gospel, not just rely on the pastor to do so in the context of a sermon. One is also reminded that Jesus is Lord of every moment of life, not just a couple of hours each week in a place where expressions of faith will be met with approval. The boldness and breadth of true discipleship as explained in “Saturation” is daunting, but accurate.

Vanderstelt explains, “You are a child of God, part of his family. … If you believe this to be true, it changes how you live and how you love. What God has done to you, he now wants to do through you.” Today's church could make a far greater impact for good on the world around us if more Christians embrace the vision of “Saturation.”

A “Saturate Field Guide” is also available, but is intended as a separate resource and is not needed to benefit from this book.

About the book:
Whether you’re just beginning a relationship with Jesus or you’ve been a follower of Jesus for a long while, many of us have a hard time translating the truths we believe in our mind, to the reality of our everyday life. Given our tendency to wander away from God, we need both encouragement and tools to keep the gospel at the center of our action in the everyday stuff of our lives. This 8-week guide offers an all-of-life approach to being disciples who make disciples of Jesus. The questions, activities, prayers, and exercises will prompt you to do exactly that—put your thoughts and theology into hands-on practice. Designed for both group and individual use, each week will build on the next, aligning your heart with the will of God, examining your core identity beliefs, and launching you into mission. When God’s people commit together to sow gospel seeds in the everyday rhythms of life, a ripple effect moves through our lives, out toward the whole earth, saturating it with the good news of Jesus.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Ben Connelly and Jeff VandersteltAbout the authors:
Ben Connelly started and now co-pastors The City Church, part of the Acts 29 network and Soma Family of Churches. He is also the co-author of A Field Guide for Everyday Mission (Moody Publishers). With degrees from Baylor University and Dallas Theological Seminary, Connelly taught public speaking at TCU for six years. He now leads church planting for the Soma Family in North America, writes for various publications, trains folks across the country and blogs in spurts.

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of the Soma Family of Churches and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, Washington. He also travels around the U.S. and the world equipping the church in the gospel and missional living. Vanderstelt is the author of Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life.

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