Being the Church Everyday

Church is not a building. Church is not an event.

Church is the people of God filled with the presence of God set apart for the purposes of God in the world. For this reason, we must commit to equipping everyday people for the everyday mission of gospel saturation.

Do you believe that? Do you believe you are the church? Do you believe the church is actively on mission every day in the stuff of life – in the workplace, at school, in cafes and pubs, around dinner tables, and on the soccer field, all for the glory of God?

If you are a leader in the church, do you see that your job is not to primarily do the ministry for the church, but to equip the church for ministry in the everyday stuff of life (Eph. 4:11-12)?

Sixteen months ago I accepted an invitation to replant a broken and hurting church. My team and I have been wrestling with helping our body transition from a Sunday to an “everyday” church, praying with members through wounds old and new, and reorienting our people to see themselves as the church – a people saved by God who have been sent out into the world by God for his purposes.

Recently I was speaking with a couple who’re in the process of becoming missional community leaders and I asked them how they thought the transition from Sunday to everyday was going.

“To be honest, we’re a little overwhelmed.”

When I asked why, they responded,

“Well, it used to be that church was one-two hours on Sunday and a few hours on Wednesdays with our community group. But you keep saying that we don’t go to church, we are the church 24-7. That’s a little overwhelming because that means everything counts – we’re always on.”

I said, “Well, you know I didn’t make that up, right? You already were the people of God 24-7 regardless of whether I said so.”

They agreed with some laughter, “Of course, we see that. It’s just that we weren’t really thinking about it before. Now we are.”

I continued, “Well, it doesn’t need to overwhelm you. If you were the church 24-7 before when you weren’t thinking about it, and God was at work in you, whether you knew it or not, think about how much more fulfilling life could be when you are fully aware that he is at work in and through you all the time, even when you’re sleeping!”

I went on to explain that God isn’t necessarily looking for us to try harder or add more ministry demands on our lives. He wants us to walk in greater awareness and dependency on him in the everyday stuff of life and engage what we we’re already doing with gospel intentionality.

This isn’t additional, this is intentional. It’s not about adding more to our busy lives, it’s about engaging all of life for his glory. It’s about fully realizing we have his power because he is present in us and in all we do.

They went on to share all the present activities they were already engaged in and one by one, we began to discuss how they might enter in to the already established rhythms of their lives a little differently.

You can do this too.

Whether you’re a leader or not, God wants you to see that he is present in your life by his Spirit, at work in your life by his power and eager to be glorified through your life for your joy, others’ good, and Jesus’ fame.

  1. Evaluate. Carve out some time to consider all you are presently doing or involved in. What if you were to start seeing those activities and events as the places where God wants to work through you to show his glory and tell his story? That’s what he intends to do through all of his people.
  2. Pray. God wants gospel saturation to happen through you, but it first of all needs to happen to you. Invite him to saturate you with his Spirit and then saturate your world with his glory every day and everywhere. Ask for the Spirit to show where he wants you to focus your time and efforts. Pray through each of your daily rhythms and ask God to open your eyes and heart to where He is already working. Invite him to show you areas that need the good news of Jesus.
  3. Reprioritize. After prayerful reflection of the activities and rhythms of your daily life, is there anything you should cut so you have more time to spend in other areas? Or maybe there is something Jesus is leading you to start doing? Or even keep doing, but in a different way?
  4. Submit and Share. Test what you’re hearing against Scripture and process with your spouse, missional community, friends – anyone you trust to give you wise counsel. Invite them to speak into your conclusions and to partner with you in the work if necessary.
  5. Act. Begin to make the necessary changes. Remember that Jesus is already at work in the relationships and situations in your life. And, in you. You have the power and presence of God.

Walking in obedience brings rest and peace at the soul level. Yes, you will die to self, things will most likely get messy, but Jesus will give you what you need moment by moment. And, in that you will find rest for your soul.

Gospel saturation doesn’t happen in a building.

It won’t get accomplished through an event.

Gospel saturation happens in you and then gospel saturation happens through you…until all the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

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Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

Motivation for Mission

God declares something to be so and it is.

We live differently if we realize who we are! God commands us to make disciples and baptize them in the name the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In baptism we are established in our new identity. And, now what God has done to you, he intends to do through you.

Want real-time training on what it looks like to make disciples in the everyday stuff of life? Attend Saturate EveryDay get a vision for what it might look like to saturate your own community with the gospel so that every man, woman, and child has a daily encounter with Jesus.

During this two-day training we guarantee you will gain effective tools and practices to develop a clear plan of action for gospel saturation in your community.

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Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

Mercenary or Missionary?

What are you more familiar with? 

Community without mission is co-dependency. Mission without community creates mercenaries. Community on mission loves, proclaims the good news of Jesus, and displays power of the gospel to change lives.

Want real-time training on what it looks like to make disciples in the midst of a community on mission? Attend Saturate EveryDay and get a vision for what it might look like to saturate your own community with the gospel so that every man, woman, and child has a daily encounter with Jesus.

During this two-day training we guarantee you will gain effective tools and practices to develop a clear plan of action for gospel saturation in your community.

You're Not Jesus

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in our church was seeking to be Jesus to our city. When we first started Soma, the church we planted in Tacoma, Washington, I opened the Scriptures to John 20:21 and read, "Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.'" Then I explained to our small core group we were going to discover together how God sent the Son and, in turn, how he was sending us into the city of Tacoma on mission. I made it my goal from that point on to teach the missional incarnation life of Jesus throughout the book of John and mobilize our team to live on mission every day. It was a great study as we sought to be Jesus to Tacoma—big mistake.

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in our church was seeking to be Jesus to our city

By the time we had finished our study of John we were well aware of the life Jesus lived on mission, and we were also well aware of our inability to live it. We were overwhelmed and burnt out as we tried to love, serve, and demonstrate the kingdom of God in everyday ways—just as Jesus did. In our study we landed back in John 20. Tired, weary, overwhelmed, and disillusioned I read verse 21 again as the resurrected "Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.'" This time I kept reading verse 22. "And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"

If only I had kept reading before! Why didn't I read onward the first time?

My Mistake

I had called people to do the work of Jesus without the help of Jesus

I led people to try and be Jesus without the presence of Jesus. I had sent people out to do the missional incarnation work Jesus did without the same power he did it with: the Spirit. We can't be Jesus. There is only one Jesus. We need the same Spirit that empowered him for ministry and raised him from the dead. In John 15:5, Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." And the apostle Paul states very clearly in Colossians 1:27 that it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." In both cases, it is evident the only way the work of Jesus will be done in and through us is if we are doing it by the very same Spirit.

If Jesus needed the Spirit for the mission, so do we.

In our emphasis on living a life on mission, we must not be so foolish to think we can be Jesus—nor should we be so proud to think we are better than Jesus. If Jesus needed the Spirit for the mission, so do we. Jesus is a better Jesus than you, and the Spirit has all the power you need to accomplish Jesus' mission through you. Don't try to do this on your own.

"If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it" (John 14:14). The good news is he isn't asking us to do the work. He is inviting us to ask him to do the work in and through us. I am thankful he let me experience the fruit of my foolish pride because he led me back to himself, and I will never forget how refreshing he was for this weary pastor!


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Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.