We are releasing Ben Connelly’s A Pastor's Guide for Everyday Mission—which is about how not to forget the great commission and how to make, mature, and multiply disciples. Here’s a description of the book:
After fifteen plus years of vocational ministry, Ben Connelly had an epiphany. He had missed the great commission. He was really good at keeping Christians happy and really bad at making disciples. A Pastor’s Guide to Everyday Mission helps those in paid ministry positions rediscover—and live—their life as God’s missionaries, even as they minister to God’s people. Without burdening you with the guilt and shame he once felt, Connelly charges his peers in ministry to look over the walls of our Christian castles and realize that there are always more people “out there” than there are “in here.” A Pastor’s Guide to Everyday Mission will free you to let down your drawbridge, go out to the people to whom God sent you, and lead others across the bridge and into the world with you.
Mathew B. Sims, Managing Editor
“I’m really good at appeasing Christians, and really bad at making disciples.”
In 2009, this crippling epiphany overwhelmed me. I was in “vocational ministry” since I was a freshman in college. While reading the New Testament for a seminary class, I started to get the nagging feeling that something was off. I didn’t know what exactly, but clouds gathered at the horizon of my mind. As I read over and over about the New Testament Church and compared its life and ministry to the ministry of the churches I’d worked for, everything seemed to get eerily still. As page after page showed disciples made and sent, the church loving its neighbors and those in need, church leaders called to love not-yet-believers in their midst, and even Jesus’ prayer that his Father not take Christians out of the world, I became disoriented; everything seemed to go into slow-motion.
Then I read the Great Commission.
I’d read it maybe two-hundred times before. But not like this. A tidal wave rose from nowhere. Looming. Rushing toward me. It crashed down: I’m really good at keeping Christians happy and really bad at making disciples. We had a decent-sized college ministry and praise God, he used even our lack of missional intentionality to bring some students to himself. But by and large, I felt like I was paid to keep Christian students liking our church’s ministry more than other churches’ ministries.
But the Great Commission isn’t to appease Christians. It’s to “go make disciples” (Matthew 28:19)! Whether in our hometowns, across the world, or somewhere between, my calling—long before I was a pastor—was to be a missionary! The wave crushed me. Drenched in shame and remorse, I began to question my purpose in life and ministry. I wondered if, in God’s eyes, I was a total fraud.
Following that season, I walked through the feelings of shame, remorse, and hypocrisy. I realized that some of the feelings stemmed from emotion; others, however, I rightly repented of, and have come to rest in God’s grace. (At least most of the time.) But the principle stands: whatever role we play, every follower of Jesus on earth is a missionary, sent to make disciples. And that’s especially true for those of us in paid ministry positions.
Ben Connelly, his wife Jess, and their daughters Charlotte and Maggie live in Fort Worth, TX. He started and now co-pastors The City Church, part of the Acts29 network and Soma family of churches. Ben is also co-author of A Field Guide for Everyday Mission (Moody Publishers, 2014). With degrees from Baylor University and Dallas Theological Seminary, Ben teaches public speaking at TCU, writes for various publications, trains folks across the country, and blogs in spurts at benconnelly.net. Twitter: @connellyben.