In Christianity, discipleship has become a word that everyone seems to have a different definition for. Some define it by weekend church attendance. Some define it by if you’re in a small group. Some define it by what you’re doing in your community to serve the poor. In his first book releasing this Spring, Jeff Vanderstelt dives into this topic by looking at discipleship through the lens of everyday life. In Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life, Vanderstelt considers what it means to follow Jesus at all times in our lives and days, and what it means to understand grace and display God’s grace and love to others in every day life.
Many Christians are more focused on weekend worship service attendance and sermons, which Vanderstelt would say is very important to a Christian’s growth, but we have become less focused on who we are the rest of the week, how we lead our homes and how we know and interact with our neighbors. Do most Christians know their neighbors? Probably not, or probably no more than the occasional fence conversation. In fact, many churches segregate (unintentionally or maybe intentionally) discipleship from a worship service. They hire discipleship pastors to oversee the discipleship ministries. Vanderstelt says to this, “Why would you hire a discipleship pastor when the whole point of the church is making disciples of Jesus? It’s not a separate program of the church! It’s the mission of the whole church! Every disciple of Jesus is called to it” (Loc 108).
The mission of the church is to make disciples who are making disciples. Over and over and over again. Vanderstelt walks through stories of his ministry in Tacoma, WA of the hardship of leading a church plant and moving people towards understanding the importance of loving their neighbors, community and city. Vanderstelt felt a conviction to know his neighbors and help them to see his every day life and how he modeled Christ always through the grace of God. This is hard for many Christians and many pastors to do because it opens a person up for others to see their sin. Vanderstelt wonderfully shows that God’s grace and mercy seen through Jesus in our lives is greater always than any sin we have or will commit. We are all sinners, and we need to understand God’s grace in our lives. How we apologize, how we ask forgiveness and how we repent show our understanding of God’s grace.
Many churches and Christians desire to know their neighbors and show them a life with Jesus, but most do not know how to do this. Saturate is a great book for churches, small groups and pastors to read to understand the important of disciple-making and how Christians can truly impact their neighborhoods and cities. This is an important book, and I’m glad Vanderstelt has written it. It will rub up against many church models and systems, but I hope so in a good way. I hope this book challenges pastors and Christians alike to get uncomfortable and truly get into their neighborhoods to know and love people in Christ’s name. Grab a copy of Saturate this Spring.