Jeff Vanderstelt. Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015.
A delightful book!
Vanderstelt writes about his experience as a pastor of missional communities in the Tacoma [Washington] region.
Never have I read a book that so effectively integrates Christian community, the Gospel, and community outreach.
Vanderstelt shares candidly about how the Gospel applies to his own life on a continual basis, and how it can transform our lives when applied not only to our past, but to our present and future as well. Jesus' life and death are good enough to cover our past. His resurrection means He is with us now. And His return gives hope for the future. We were saved from the penalty of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin, and will be saved from the presence of sin.
Vanderstelt also describes a philosophy of discipleship that is all-life-encompassing. We grow in our faith in personal relationships, in community, and while on mission. We need friends, we learn from the atmosphere of a group, and we are challenged as we reach out to our community.
Another main point the author makes is that "we do who we are." Our Christian action springs from our sense of identity. Vanderstelt stresses that as God's family, we care for each other; as servants, we worship God and demonstrate the kingdom through action; as missionaries, we are sent and empowered to proclaim the good news, explaining our servant-actions. God's identity leads Him to act, which gives us identify, leading us to act.
Last, Vanderstelt offers practical examples of "everyday rhythms" in which mission can happen. Missional living does not need to be another add-on to our busy schedules; it can happen through intentionality in normal life occurrences. We can create common ground through shared meals; we can take time to listen to people's stories; we can share God's story and connect it to theirs; we can bless others and explain it with the Gospel; we can celebrate special days together, offering a taste of God's kingdom; we can recreate together, enjoying restful time.
All in all, I couldn't ask for more from the author, in terms of what he intended to do. I don't think he could have offered a more attractive expression of missional community. His focus - on the Gospel of Christ, our God-given identity, reliance on the Spirit, and using everyday rhythms - take all the pressure off of us.
However, what if you're not an extrovert? Maybe that seems cliché, but some people might not find it life-giving to invite groups of people into every area of their lives. Some people might find opportunities to be missional in a more subtle way, one-on-one, through relationships at work, etc. I totally agree that a Christian community provides a valuable and necessary environment for mission and growth, but it would be interesting to hear more about how the different "parts of the Body" find different, complementary roles and work together in this.
All in all, a great read!
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