Tennessee Christian News
A Christian doesn’t have to travel to the jungles of Africa to be a missionary, two Texas pastors say in a new book. Even busy people can do mission at home.
Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts Jr. are the authors of “A Field Guide for Everyday Mission: 30 Days and 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel” by Moody Publishers. Connelly is a founder and copastor of The City Church in Fort Worth. Roberts founded NorthWood Church in Dallas.
“Everyday Mission” breaks the points up into daily tasks because people are so busy. “Mission isn’t always right in front of us,” Connelly said.
To reach non-believers, you may want to skip your church’s Christmas party (if time is an issue) and host a party for your non-church friends.
“We get so caught up with what’s in front of us unless we are intentional,” Connelly said.
Along the way through the daily tips, Connelly and Roberts urge people not to forget that not-yet-believers are people, not projects to fix.
Connelly said he hopes people not only read the book but continue to use it to “produce fruit” in their lives. The book provides a wealth of mission ideas in small nuggets with a format of five questions to provoke thought per week over the course of six weeks. The last two days of the week are for reflection and for sharing ideas with others.
One of my favorite daily questions was Day 29: making the gospel relevant to a non-believer who expresses skepticism. In a real scenario, a security guard named Nick had to answer a co-worker’s question: “I do drugs. What would Jesus say about that?” Nick replied in part, “I think Jesus would tell you you’re looking for hope in a place that lets you down. So I think Jesus would tell you He’s a better place to put your hope, because He promises He’ll never let you down.”
Continuing along that thought, Connelly told me, “The best answer is to ask more questions. Everyone is looking for an identity and finds it in something. Each thing gives us a way to the gospel. It’s paying attention to patterns in conversations.”
For example, a person may be struggling with her boss and mention that in different conversations. She may not realize it, but she may be trying to find her identity from her boss’ approval.
“Don’t try to jump on (it),” Connelly said. “Ask questions. Christians aren’t known for their ability to listen. Listening lets them know we care and lets us know how to better speak the gospel for that person’s situation.”
“Everyday Mission” also gives you 101 very practical hands-on ways to demonstrate the gospel to people. No. 33 says “Know the things that shape culture: Watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, read books. At least find reviews of the major ones and know enough to see points of brokenness and engagement.” A very easy one is No. 37: “Walk your dog: Walk when your neighbors are outside. Strike up conversations. Invite them over. No dog? Here’s your chance to guilt trip your spouse into getting one.”
It can be very effective to show the gospel by serving others directly or through serving the community’s needs. Tip No. 1 talks about picking up trash, painting fences or cleaning a park.
“We see a lot of things God calls us to,” Connelly said. “All are worship: the Sabbath, loving our neighbors, seeking others’ welfare. The Old Testament prophets said God told people to stop gathering and offering sacrifices because they didn’t love the people in front of them.”
I asked Connelly which of the 101 tips he thought was most effective. He likes No. 52, an activity that is timely: watch football games with others. If football is not your thing, pick No. 53: TV shows. Throw a party for non-church friends in your neighborhood.
“I can forget my neighbors might be watching the same game. Think ahead and have snacks and invite them over.”
Connelly said that issue weighed on him when he started his church in 2010: “I love the church, the American church, but I don’t know God would say anything good to us today: ‘Your gatherings look pretty, you do well singing songs and declaring the Word. But not loving people in front of you.’ I include myself in it, which is convicting to me.”
Many of the books’ examples, Connelly said, come from his mistakes in sharing the gospel or from things he tried.
“That’s where grace comes in,” he said.
“Everyday Mission” is ideal for individuals, churches, small groups and missional communities looking for new ways to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission. The authors encourage readers to share their mission stories on social media with the hashtag #everydaymission. A website, everydaymission.net, has more information, include sermon outlines and PowerPoint demonstrations.
“A Field Guide for Everyday Mission: 30 Days and 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel” is available from Moody Publishers’ website, Amazon or other book retailers.
About the authors
Ben Connelly started and now co-pastors The City Church, part of the Acts 29 Network and Soma family of churches. With degrees from Baylor University and Dallas Theological Seminary, Ben teaches public speaking at Texas Christian University, writes for various publications, trains folks across the country, and blogs in spurts at http://www.benconnelly.net.
Dr. Bob Roberts Jr. is the founding pastor of NorthWood Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He has been involved in the planting of more than 175 congregations in the U.S. and is the author of several books, most recently Bold as Love. A leading practitioner of “glocal” transformation, Bob also works with church planting, development and global engagement in Australia, Asia, Afghanistan, Mexico and Nepal, and blogs at http://www.glocal.net.