The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You

Reviewed by: Megan Alms, Professional Writing Major at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana


Title: The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You

Author: Shannan Martin

Publisher: Nelson Books

Publication Date: 2018

Format: Print book

Length: 214 pages


Shannan Martin lives on the “wrong side of the tracks.” Many of her neighbors are impoverished, recently incarcerated, struggling with addiction, or all of the above. But it is in this neighborhood where she learned the power of loving and investing in others by being present, even in the ordinary moments.

Finding God in the daily grind first requires paying attention. Notice the sky as you walk your kids to school. Notice your reflection in the mirror one morning. Notice the neighbor trudging down the street and start a conversation. Martin says: “Simply put, we cannot love what we do not know. We cannot know what we do not see. We cannot see anything, really, until we devote ourselves to the lost art of paying attention.”

Noticing is not the end, however. Inviting God into your ordinary requires shedding the security of minding your own business. Ministry can’t happen if you maintain a safe distance from discomfort. Martin encourages readers to invite others into their lives, not with fanfare but with humility. Because the moments you expect to be monumental usually aren’t the ones with lasting significance. God speaks to us through whispers in our everyday lives.

In The Ministry of Ordinary Places, Martin shares snapshots of her life—the hilarious, the frightening, and the deeply touching. Her stories of close encounters with our suffering Christian neighbors are certainly a wake-up call. A Whopper Extra-Value Meal, gluten-free macaroni munched in an unfinished basement and zealous thrift shopping never seemed so beautiful before this book.


Rating (1 to 5)


Suggested Audience

Christians, especially women, seeking God in their ordinary lives

Christian Impact

This book encourages Christians to invest in those around them by telling of her own unexpected encounters that brought her closer to God.


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The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God's Goodness Around You

About Ceil Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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