A Field Guide for Everyday Mission: 30 days and 101 ways to demonstrate the gospel
Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts Jr.
“Build short fences…” – or, in my case, lend out your hedge trimmer. We’ve all heard that we should view our workplaces, neighbourhoods and families as a mission field, but Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr., go beyond the “what” to articulate the “how.”
In A Field Guide for Everyday Mission, Connelly and Roberts give practical advice on how to be a better missionary, from watching television (to understand what shapes our culture), to getting a dog (to have an reason to go outside and meet people), to designing your yard for interaction.
A Field Guide for Everyday Mission inspires us for the nitty-gritty of living on mission through ordinary tasks within the reality of our busy and full lives.
101 specific suggestions
The book can be used by individuals or small groups. The 30 days of reading are broken down into weekly questions lasting six weeks. Scattered throughout the book are 101 ways to demonstrate the gospel: ranging from eating lunch with your co-workers to getting involved in local committees, boards and school activities. Every week, the reader is encouraged to post their mission action steps on social media using the hashtag #everydaymission.
I found the specific nature of these 101 ways refreshing and challenging.
The small group I’m involved with at Winkler MB Church accepted this 30-day challenge. It took more than a month to complete, but we made it through!
Many of us began to see the areas in our lives where we were not actively pursuing relationships with what the field guide calls “not-yet Christians.” We saw some initiative taken, however, I would say there was more conversation than action (myself included). Sometimes it takes time for total transformation to occur.
My own mindset has been challenged repeatedly through the past year regarding what it looks like to be “missional.” This book was the icing on the cake, putting hands and feet to much of the teaching I’ve been hearing lately.
Spurred to action
Studying this book spurred me to action in a very simple way. I hadn’t said more than a few words to my backdoor neighbours since they moved in last summer. Most people would not peg me as shy, but I really have a hard time initiating conversation with people, especially those I don’t know.
Now, as I watched my neighbour trim the hedge, manually snipping it branch by branch, I simply could not ignore the voice inside telling me to lend him my electric hedge trimmer. This gave me opportunity to talk to him briefly, and he gratefully accepted my offer.
When he returned it, my wife had a chance to laugh with him: he had purchased a new cord because he had cut through mine! (She has done the same thing.)
This small situation was an indicator to me that I’m beginning to think differently.
In my small group, everyone is able to say they see things differently now.
A high school teacher sees his role as a coach to a baseball team as more than just a chance to play ball, but as an opportunity to give these girls a place to belong and be themselves.
One lady who has many “not-yet-Christians” in her family is now intentional about having good conversations at gatherings, and not just comfortable small talk about the weather!
Another couple, who live on a farm and struggle to see where they can implement missional living, have decided to host a community hot dog roast to draw together the scattered neighbouring farmers.
Some of the suggestions in this book are so mundane, you might think they’re not worth mentioning – like intentionally shopping close to home and getting to know the merchants – however, we are an ordinary people who require tangible, bite-sized ideas that we can immediately put into practice. Even something as simple as praying for these people you have now come to know by name as you shop, walk, or drive allows us to look at our relationships in a different light and be more intentional about kingdom building in our interactions.
On mission together
This field guide stresses the importance of being on mission with others, within community. The authors remind us that Jesus sent out his missionaries two-by-two: the 12 disciples (Mark 6:6–12), and later the 72 (Luke 10:1–24). We should not be alone as we announce the gospel through an intentionally missional way of life.
Like any book, A Field Guide for Everyday Mission will only be as effective as you allow it to be. The authors guide the reader through biblical models of evangelism and give many opportunities to respond throughout the pages. It is up to the reader to put these things into practice and live on #everydaymission.
—Curt Penner lives in Winkler, Man., with his wife Jacqui, daughter Brielle, and they have a baby due at the end of May! They attend the Winkler MB Church where he leads a music team. Curt works for a lumber yard, chairs the board for Pembina Valley Bible Camp and enjoys mountain biking when there is time.