Brandon Hatmaker’s new book, A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith, challenges readers to dive deeper into their relationship with Christ and with others. This is a great book for those who, in the midst of a busy life, have gotten into a rut with their faith and their community.
The old phrase “a mile wide and an inch deep” was first used to describe the Platte River in the Midwestern and western United States. Because of its lack of depth, the Platte would never be used as a major navigation route – would never be used as an agent of change and influence. In this book, Hatmaker shares that the modern church and believers have recently been described just as the Platte was – a mile wide and an inch deep.
While Hatmaker (and I) don’t believe every believer or every church could be painted with such a broad brush, the comparison, sadly, can ring true. Oftentimes, in the hustle and bustle of life, believers can get spread so thin that before they know it, they are moving along, doing and saying the right thing, but never truly connecting with God or with their community.
In A Mile Wide, Hatmaker encourages believers to not become stale in their faith, but allow the gospel to continue to transform us throughout our lives, to continually become a new creation in Christ by knitting our hearts to His and practicing our faith daily. Hatmaker encourages believers that mission is all around us and that we can each make an impact for the gospel right where we are.
“Trading a shallow religion for a deeper faith requires us to shift the way we view mission. True mission recognizes that where we are is where we’ve been sent. Mission is all around us. The people around us, the influence we have, and the places we go are our mission field. Our mission is to listen to people, steward our influence, and utilize our position to advance the kingdom. That doesn’t mean we have to lead everyone we meet to faith in Christ, but it does mean that we recognize and capture every moment as a gospel moment.” -Brandon Hatmaker, A Mile Wide.
This transformation of the way we view mission also transforms the way we see others. If we begin to view every encounter as a way to model Jesus’s love, our hearts will turn to one another and our lives will become more knitted together. Hatmaker provides practical guidance to create deep, meaningful relationships in our lives. He encourages believers to put away our fears and insecurities and reminds us to look at ourselves the way God sees us – wholly forgiven and washed clean. With this new viewpoint, vulnerability and honesty are sure to follow and meaningful relationships can be made.
“I also pray that you’ll apply the same gospel to how you view others. That you’ll live by the standards that align with the kingdom Jesus ushered in. That whenever you feel spiritual pride and judgement, you’ll replace it with humility and grace. That you’ll pursue truth, but never go through, around, or over people to get there. That you’ll be an advocate for others, kneel in the dirt to extend dignity, and become a friend to the outcast. That you’ll not only receive the gospel, but you’ll embody it as you seek to be more like Jesus.” – Brandon Hatmaker, A Mile Wide
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was first asked to read and review this book. To be honest, when I’m looking for a book about faith or study, Brandon Hatmaker isn’t the first person I would think of. Not because he’s not a talented writer or insightful pastor – because he is – but because I’m a fan of bold women who share their hearts and lives and pour into other women. In fact, Brandon’s wife, Jen Hatmaker, is one of my favorite authors and I first became introduced to Brandon while watching their HGTV series, My Big Family Renovation. Watching Brandon encourage his family and carve out spaces to meet their unique needs with a steady hand and warm smile made me want to know more about his vision of the church.
I am known to be a bit of a speed reader, but I intentionally read this book slowly. After the first few pages, I knew that it would make a significant impact on my life and I wanted to soak in every word. I carried this book around with me for months, reading and re-reading it, highlighting passages, taking notes and writing my answers to the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. (Please note the scribbles on the cover from Bunny – she wanted to get in on the highlighting action too). After reading A Mile Wide, I have the tools and encouragement I need to dive deeper into my faith and find the community I was missing.
If you are seeking more from your relationship with God and your community, I encourage you to buy a copy of A Mile Wide today.
A Mile Wide Boot Ride
Do you want a signed copy? Brandon and a group of friends are going on a book tour this fall – A MILE WIDE BOOT RIDE – sponsored by Legacy Collective with the Grim Guardian MC, Marcus Luttrell (Redneck Country Club in Houston), Willie Robertson (West Monroe), Joe Bachman & The Tailgaters (57th Fighter Group Restaurant in Atlanta), Amy from the Bobby Bones Show (Nashville) and more…. benefitting the Boot Campaign and JP HRO with stops in Houston (Oct 2), West Monroe (Oct 3), Atlanta (Oct 5), Nashville (Oct 7), and Grapevine Craft Brewery in Dallas/FtWorth (Oct 9). I’ll be at the Houston stop and would love to see you there.
Because I love this book so much, I’ve purchased a copy with my own money to give away to a reader. A winner will be chosen next week, so enter soon.
* This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own. When you make a purchase after having clicked an affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale with no additional cost to you. Your prices for all products remain the same and you’ll help financially support Outrageously Wonderful. I received an advance reader copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.