Genuine Community - Saturate

A Field Guide for Genuine Community

25 Days and 101 Ways to Move From Facade to Family

Book Summary

I’m surrounded by people at church . . . so why do I feel so alone?

You show up at church every Sunday. You see people you know. You listen to a sermon together. And then you go home feeling just as isolated as you did before. What’s going on?

We all know that a church is supposed to be a community. The trick is to actually make it one. Communities don’t happen by chance—certainly not in our Lone Ranger culture that values independence and individualism. A truly Christian community must be built by intentional practices that allow for deeper connections, centered on the unity that can only be found in Christ.

In A Field Guide for Genuine Community, longtime pastor and discipleship trainer Ben Connelly shows you that the biblical model for community is the family of God. In twenty-five short, practical readings, he takes you beyond the surface and helps you learn to connect with your brothers and sisters as true family members. The church isn’t meant to be a collection of strangers. God intends for you to find a unified and purposeful household where you truly belong.


About Ben

BEN CONNELLY is Director of Equipping & Planting for the Soma Family of Churches and Saturate, and is currently co-planting Salt+Light Community. In addition to local shepherding, he gets to train everyday disciples, encourage churches and denominations, and help them plant churches.

He has co-authored several books, including A Field Guide for Everyday Missions, The Saturate Field Guide, and The Gospel Fluency Handbook. Ben has taught university and seminary classes, and holds degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and Baylor University.

He lives in Fort Worth, TX, with his wife, Jessica, and their three elementary-age kids, and at times, short-term foster children as well.


Praise for Genuine Community

We live in a culture where connection and community seem readily available, yet experientially, we see the rise of heightened individualism, loneliness, isola- tion, and depression. I couldn’t be more grateful for Ben Connelly’s A Field Guide for Genuine Community. This book will serve as a tour guide for believers as they embark on a deep adventurous journey toward becoming the kind of community, the kind of family, God desires His people to be.

ED STETZERExecutive Director, Wheaton College Billy Graham Center

I’m thankful for this book—it demystifies the purpose of Christian community while doing honor to the complexities of it, and centers the grace of God as the unifying and liberating power we need to know it is real. Full of biblical insight and experiential wisdom, Ben Connelly’s Field Guide will help you pastorally un- derstand and practically implement stronger and more relational closeness in your ministry context.

JARED C. WILSONAssistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Midwestern Seminary; author of Gospel-Driven Ministry

Are you longing for more authentic, biblical relationships with others? Then you must read A Field Guide for Genuine Community. Within a five-week framework, Pastor Ben answers our questions—and our excuses—about developing church connections in your own spiritual family. Through Bible study and pertinent questions, Ben teaches us how to intentionally build intimate and multigenera- tional discipleship groups that are actually fun to be a part of! Read it, apply it, and see how your church can become less of an organization and more of a growing organism where you can enjoy a deep and fruitful life together.

JANI ORTLUNDRenewal Ministries

If you’re done with the façade of community, tired of shallow relationships, and ready to give up on a Sunday-centric faith, this book is for you. I love the way that my friend Ben doesn’t just present a couple quick fixes or silver bullets to solve your discipleship woes. Rather, he pastorally introduces the concept of church as spiritual family, which is deeply needed for the Western church.

DANIEL IMLead Pastor at Beulah Alliance Church; podcaster; author of several books (most recently You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love)

The social distancing required by 2020’s pandemic shone a light on a deeper ideo- logical war taking place across the world. For years we have experienced a mass fracturing of trust and relationships. In these conditions we must rediscover the restorative power of family. When people are starving for meaningful relation- ships, a loving community is good news. A great resource.

ALAN HIRSCHAward-winning author; founder of The 5Q Collective and Forge Missional Training Network

Jesus gave His apostles clear instructions to go and make disciples. They went and instinctively planted churches—but this was not to abandon Christ’s instruction to gather groups of believers as loving families who were all to realize their mu- tual responsibilities. They were not to be mere passive meeting attenders but to gather in vibrant communities, caring for one another’s life and spiritual growth. Ben Connelly has written an incisive, practical, and inspirational book that you will find instructive and motivational as you respond to Christ’s command.

TERRY VIRGOFounder of Newfrontiers

Ben Connelly has given us a terrific tool to practically lead people to experience and express true spiritual family. The real-life illustrations and helpful practices found in this guide will help people transition from cultural community to spiri- tual koinonia—from façade to family. In the cultural moment we find ourselves in, this tool is right on time!

JEFF VANDERSTELTVisionary Leader, Soma Family of Churches and Saturate

You cannot follow Jesus by yourself. It really does take a community around you. Ben’s ability to communicate, and to both get to the heart of the issue and ad- dress it in practical ways, is more than worth your time. I encourage you to read this book, reflect on it, and apply it to how you’re living your faith.

BOB ROBERTS JR.Founder of GlocalNet and Northwood Church; host of Bold Love podcast

For years, I’ve recommended Ben’s writings and resources on missional commu- nity to church planters. He’s lived it and has developed some of the best training to help others figure it out in their own context. As someone who works with church planting organizations but also is helping to lead a network of missional communities, this Field Guide is exactly what I need to help everyday Christians experience extraordinary community. It will be the same for you.

DANIEL YANGDirector of the Send Institute

If any Christian finds themselves stuck, bored or even domesticated in their walk with God and the church, they need to use the tools found in A Field Guide for Genuine Community. With a humbling honesty and willingness to ask the hard questions, Ben examines the intersection of a church culture influenced by our individualistic society and a dedication to maintaining the status quo. If we were willing to admit that deep down we are wired for more, that our soul is designed to be authentically seen, known, and loved, then we could take the granular steps Ben offers in this guide. If we as a faith community dedicate ourselves to the steps Ben outlines, we will truly move our faith and community from feeling like a facade to a genuine spiritual family. With a little intentionality, the known-ness that our hearts crave can be experienced in the here and now.


Ben Connelly draws on years of study, practice, and leadership to help church leaders evaluate and reconfigure ministry around distinctly Christian commu- nity. Churches are intended to be home in the deepest sense of the word. This book helps us be that.

LEE ECLOVVeteran pastor, columnist for, and author of Feels Like Home: How Rediscovering the Church as Family Changes Everything

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Exclusive Companion Resources

Ben Connelly and the team at Saturate have created free resources to help leaders equip your church, organization, or group to dive deeper into genuine, gospel- formed community. We encourage you to explore them as you read, reflect, and process through this book, personally or with your group.

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