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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,988 ratings  ·  488 reviews
Popular blogger Shannan Martin offers Christians who are longing for a more meaningful life a simple starting point: learn what it is to love and be loved right where God has placed you.

For Christ-followers living in an increasingly complicated world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to live a life of intention and meaning. Where do we even begin?

Paperback, 217 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Thomas Nelson
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Amy Fritz
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had a chance to get my hands on an advance reader copy of this book and I loved it!

More and more I feel the pull toward planting myself firmly in this little corner of the world God has placed us. This book is a beautiful illustration of how one family did that. What would happen if we opened our eyes to the people in our literal neighborhoods and towns and schools? What if we committed ourselves to faithfully serving instead of critiquing and always looking for the next best upgrade for ourse
Lee Nienhuis
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Man, I liked this book. I thought for the first two chapters that I have heard it all before, and then Shannan wove pictures and invaded my heart.

Highly recommend.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ll be stewing on this wisdom for weeks. How do I put the big love of Jesus into practice? Today we took cookies to a new neighbor and listened to a friend’s heartache. Tonight, we’ll be guests at another friend’s table. This is it, folks. Look around and drink it in.
Lucille Zimmerman
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I would never want to negatively critique an author because I know the process. It is difficult to find your voice, find an agent, wait for the book to sell to a publisher, write the dang thing, and then market it.

But I'm struggling...

I started the book last night. It was late and I was tired, so maybe that was the problem. I was frustrated because I couldn't ground myself in the story. The author shares a little bit about how how she lived in the country but now she lives in the city. Her husba
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Too lyrical, long-winded and vague. For a clearer case to love your neighbor, read “The Gospel Comes With a House Key” by Butterfield. For a more compelling case to find God in the ordinary, read “ The Liturgy of the Ordinary” by Tish Warren.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on Christmas day when I was feeling a little sorry for myself, if I'm going to be honest. Shannan's book reminded me that I am loved and that I am my best self when I'm loving other people (and not busy feeling sorry for myself). I felt like she was loving me from the pages of her book and reminding me that God loves me just the way I am. It also gave me a good reminder that church community can be so good when done correctly (even if it's a messy, ragtag bunch). It's time for m ...more
Kirsten Kroeker
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
"Sometimes we get so hung up on doing something great, we forget the best thing is often the smallest."

Ministry of Ordinary Places is an impactful gift for anyone wanting to make a difference in their world. Half of it is a celebration of "ordinary" and recognizing the beauty and gifts that come in everyday packages, realizing it's the little things that make up the grand stories in life.

The other half is the realization that remarkable has become ordinary. Shannan reflects back on her previous
Casey | Essentially Novel
I wanted to like this book but it fell quite flat for me. The book is more of a story of her life, her recognizing her neighbors and what she's done for them than anything else. There wasn't any kind of challenge or questions for the reader to ponder. Although there was some Scripture referenced and a few quoted, there was not elaboration on those verses. The author even makes a peculiar comment, saying "the universe gifted me with", and as a professed believer in God, it is odd that she would e ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-maybes
I loved the message of this book, and have been searching for something like it. I found it to be an inspirational call to Spirit-led relational perseverance, hospitality, and generosity. Several of the chapters encouraged and challenged me to re-examine my own priorities.
Although I really wanted to read more details about the specific situations she encountered and how they played out, this book is definitely not a prescription for problem-solving the inevitable relational troubles.
Her writi
Challice Neipp
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this book and then I read some of the reviews. What seem to keep coming up was the fact that Shannan Martin is very poetic and almost Anne Voskamp inspired. I would agree with this but what really bothered me was how Christianity is presented. I am not here to say that everything in the church is fine. As a matter of fact, this is why I picked the book up. Everything isnt and we need to figure out what we're doing wrong.

Martin makes some on target points that I've jotted down and will ta
Lindsay Brandon-smith
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shannan Martin has such an engaging and authentic way of telling her story and sharing what she’s learning about life, love, God and community. “The Ministry of Ordinary Places” is a series of stories and experiences and musings as she and her family lean in to the work they have been given and learn to love their place. It’s a good reminder that following God wasn’t supposed to be complicated. We are often so busy looking for something big and “important” that we miss what’s right in front of u ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, spiritual
If you read FALLING FREE, Shannan Martin returns with an even more lyrical and soulful memoir of her life as a radical neighbor lover. As a member of her launch team, I received an advance copy.

I was blessed so much by THE MINISTRY OF ORDINARY PLACES and I especially appreciated the very tactical ideas Martin offers for loving our neighbors. The author also takes a necessary and admirable stance against a lot of what I can only refer to as ministry "gimmicks" that churches in the First World hav
Jon Andrews
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is NOT just a book written by a woman for women. I am a high school football coach who found Shannan’s writing challenging and hard-hitting. I have read over 50 books this year and this is by far the most impactful one to date. So start a pot of coffee take a seat in the recliner put your feet up and dig in.

We have lost the art of neighboring due to many things like garage doors and air conditioners. We pull into our drive way with our windows up push a button pull inside of garage, withou
Megan Ericson
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
WARNING: You will have a hard time finishing this book. I couldn't read an entire chapter without putting the book down to text someone I was concerned about, invite someone to dinner or help a neighbor in need.

This book made we want to make my world smaller and dig deeper into the community literally just outside my door. The author outlines the beautiful (yet not so easy) mission of living your every day with heart and eyes wide open to serve with what you have right now. No large donations o
Ashley C
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Well off woman congratulates herself on befriending poor people, drug addicts, and felons. While the writing was nice and the message of loving thy neighbor a good one, I felt that the book reeked of self-righteousness. Possibly, I just read this in the wrong mood, but her stories lacked details and glossed over heartbreak. I never became invested in what was happening.
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book...I don't think that anything I can say about it will do it justice. Every single page hit so close to home for me, because Martin taps directly into what I have felt about ministry for so long. It isn't about saying the right words, it isn't about ME convicting people of their sin and "leading" them to Jesus. It's about me, living my life, loving my neighbors (and that definition is WIDE), joining into community with them, and letting that love of Jesus draw those people to Him.
Jennifer L.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am certain it was a challenge for Shannan to write a more lovable, practical, poetic book than Falling Free, but Shannan did it. The Ministry of Ordinary Places is relevant, challenging, and beautiful. It is simple and deep. The stories feel so approachable just like the good neighbor Shannan leads us to attempt to be. It is full of the kind of truth that lines up with Scripture. I’ve been doing a in-depth study of 1 Timothy, and so many themes of Paul’s writing lines up with the themes of thi ...more
Jessica Flores
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In a world where authors, influencers and leaders are rallying us to “find our tribe” and surround ourselves exclusively with people who will applaud our successes and give to our relationships as much as we do, Shannan Martin’s challenge to “Stop Searching For Your People” and put on the garments of “grace, flesh and skinny jeans” sounds just a little more like the voice of Jesus to me. After reading her first title, “Falling Free,” I was excited to learn more from a woman who I can personally ...more
Melissa Lewis
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved Shannan’s first book and I loved this one even more because of the practical (but beautiful) way she guides us to see others. She is convincing in her belief that simple ordinary acts of kindness and love do make a difference in the world around us.

I received an advance reading copy from Harper Collins Christian publishing.
Mackenzi Hall
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shannan Martin writes of her experiences in ministering in the most ordinary of places - her home and neighborhood. This book was a good reminder of the work God asks of us, not only to minister to those in our ordinary places but to also minister in ordinary ways.

“Love asks us to be ready to enter into their lives fully, not content with referring them to agencies for assistance but eager to take on their limp as we walk closely with them through trouble. Joining us at church or praying a praye
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have always loved Shannan's writing and this book did not disappoint. Devoured in one day ~ gritty and real ~ it made me laugh and made me cry. It sends a message without being preachy.
My favourite was found in chapter 13 and this "And before I say another word let me be perfectly clear— all women are mothers. We are life-givers, each of us, in ways both wild and vast. Our title as mother isn’t defined by biology or science. It can’t be measured in centimeters or the arc of a curve. Mothering
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In "the ministry of ordinary places", Shannan Martin discusses what it really means to be in community with your neighbors. Through stories of her family, friends and neighbors, she talks about what it means to pay attention to, work with, and love for the long haul with your neighbors.

"the ministry of ordinary places" is a call to action to get out of your comfort zone and really start loving your neighbors. Especially those that may not look, act or think like yourself.

"This is our warning. T
Shannon Rochester
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
To be honest, I am not entirely sure what drew me to this book. I always check out the new release section of the library and something about it caught my eye. There is nothing extraordinary about the cover so it wasn't that. I guess it was the part about waking up in general. In today's day and age, with social media and keeping up with the Jones' or I guess the influencers or Tiny House people, it gets easy to feel like maybe you haven't done enough or gotten enough out of life. And I will say ...more
Erin Salmon
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished The Ministry of Ordinary Places last night, and I cried because I didn't want it to end (the same was true of Shannan's first book, Falling Free). In a time when it is all too easy to get swept up in the chaos of national headlines and the busyness of everyday life, I can't overemphasize that these are words that the world desperately needs. They broke me and healed me in the best way. I trust Shannan's voice more than most because I know that she is living the story of Kingdom kinshi ...more
Briana Almengor
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some of the most thought-provoking quotes from this book that I'd highly recommend to anyone looking to deepen their love for God and fellow man:

"It's all too easy to lose our purpose in the details of everyday life: the leftovers, the empty gas tank, the meetings that run too long. We know we're called to love our neighbor, but we're leery of risk."

"Living an on-the-ground, available-and-engaged, concerned-for-our-neighbors lifestyle doesn't necessarily require moving, downsizing, changing jobs
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I so believe in Shannon’s message our greatest work might be in our little neighborhoods, that “our people” might look nothing like us or come from hard places, that there is no such thing as other people’s children. And I love Shannon herself, and her attention to sidewalk cracks and passion for random thrift shop junk.

(And I think one of her sons might be jesses soulmate)

This is the second of her books that I’ve read and taken inspiration from, but her writing always leaves me a little dissat
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up
Took my time with this one, just reading 1-2 chapters each morning during my quiet time over a hot mug of coffee, and somehow that felt so appropriate considering the lovely cover of mismatched hanging mugs. And it just felt like I had pulled up a chair at Shannan's breakfast table and she was telling me stories and I was asking questions and she was sharing wisdom and we were just being.
I have SO many little dog-eared pages (I know, cringe, but I did it!) and am going bac
Mary Geisen
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Shannan Martin's new book, The Ministry of Ordinary Places, Ms. Martin describes her journey of noticing her neighborhood and it's beauty through the simple act of walking to school, welcoming neighbors to sit around her table, becoming part of the neighborhood church community, and just being there with an open heart and willing soul. The simplicity of these acts makes it seem easy. Ms. Martin challenges the reader to live with intention by working to:

“Uncover the hidden corners of our citie
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Truth be told, I don't usually care for this type of book because the writing is typically not that original and there are lots of scripture verses scattered about with not a lot of good connections, but Martin surprised me pleasantly. Her content is solid and the way she communicates it is artful and fresh.

"...there is no such thing as other people's children. Take a look around. Find someone to nurture. This is how we'll rise" (147).

"I miss the simplicity of my inward-facing world, wall-papere
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Half way thru the book, I felt like I was sitting down having an amazing conversation with Shannan over coffee (well, she would've been drinking tea).
I love hearing her share stories of life in her corner of the world. I love the way she allows God (time and time again) to take her out of her comfort zone and be the hands and feet of Jesus in such tangible ways. And I love that she pushes me to continue to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8) community with t
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“Beginning to live as though there's no such thing as other people's children might be our most critical, significant contribution to the flourishing of our own world.” 3 likes
“As Christ-followers, we are called to be long-haul neighbors committed to authenticity and willing to take some risks. Our vocation is to invest deeply in the lives of those around us, devoted to one another, physically close to each other as we breathe the same air and walk the same blocks. Our purpose is not so mysterious after all. We get to love and be deeply loved right where we’re planted, by whomever happens to be near. We will inevitably encounter brokenness we cannot fix, solve, or understand, and we’ll feel as small, uncertain, and outpaced as we have ever felt. But we’ll find our very lives in this calling, to be among people as Jesus was, and it will change everything.” 2 likes
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