A Gospel That Matters
In his new book, A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith, Brandon Hatmaker, uses an age old phrase “mile wide, inch deep” to challenge all believers, and those exploring their faith, to go a little deeper. Just like the Platte River, from which we get this term, it is easy to get caught up in the expanse of our service as Christians instead of the depth of our relationship with Christ. We should be transformed by the gospel. He says, “We have to spend far more time nurturing what no one ever sees under the surface than worrying about what’s above the soil. Things like Scripture and prayer and community root us so deeply. They are the unglamorous, unfancy work of discipleship.”
Hatmaker fights for the Bride of Christ by calling back the disenfranchised and reminding those camping within the walls of the church of the true purpose of the gospel. The gospel transforms every part of our life. It moves us to live out this transforming experience in every day of the week. “True Christianity is lived along the way, between the church services and Bible studies.”
Community That Means Something
I was so inspired by Hatmaker’s stories and practical ideas for building authentic community. We need community at church, we need community with those we serve alongside, and we need community with those with whom we share common ground. A Mile Wide both inspires and provides practical tips on how to grow these authentic communities. In addition, there are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which are great for a group bible study or for personal reflection.
Whether you are tired of the same old-same old, questioning if community as believers is even possible, or wondering if you should become a believer, I’ll leave you with these final words from Hatmaker: “A shallow religion survives from event to event and program to program. A deeper faith is rooted in trusting relationships where permission is granted to struggle, fail, and take risks. It’s a place where questions are welcomed and everyone is a learner again. Where the scabs of loneliness, emptiness, and false hope are ripped off and replaced with a concern for others, a place to be propped up, and a shared gospel worth living for.”
Let’s go deep together!
A Mile Wide releases September 13th but you can pre-order your copy of A Mile Wide here!
The Fine Print
****I was first introduced to the Hatmaker phenomenon 7 years ago when I participated in a summer women’s Bible study using Jen Hatmaker’s book: Road Trip: Five Adventures You’re Meant to Live. Since that time, I’ve devoured Seven, Interrupted and most recently For the Love. As an avid fan of all things Hatmaker, I was very excited to review a book by Jen’s husband, Brandon Hatmaker. Brandon is the pastor of Austin New Church and author of Barefoot Church. I received an advanced pdf version of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.