Get a Free Copy of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church

AND the gathered and scattered churchToday we’re reviewing, discussing, and giving away a copy of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (affiliate link).  Keep reading to learn how you can win a free copy.

AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church is written by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay who pastor Adullam Church in Denver, CO.  To quote the authors, “The idea of the AND is that every church can find a balance of both scattering people out for mission while maintaining a biblically meaningful reason to gather together.”

The traditional way to do church in the U.S. is centered on a Sunday service that people in the community must come to.  This type of church is often referred to as attractional.  But some people argue that many people have no interest in church at all, a new kind of church is needed to reach these people, one that goes out into the community, serves and builds relationships with people.  This type of church is often referred to as missional.  A big debate has erupted within the church as to which is better.

AND makes the case that “picking one side of the other is not the place to start.”  If a missional organization is successful, a community of faith will naturally want to form around it.  And if a church has no missional component it risks “becoming nothing more than a hospital, social/spiritual club, or teaching center.”  “A key to success in this flow [from engaging culture to community formation] is to avoid letting the two processes become isolated from each other… As our community begins to form, we are also continuing to engage more people.”

Favorite quotes

  • The scriptures are clear.  God is the one who builds the church.  In Acts 2, he turned a network of house churches into a mega-church and in Acts 8 he allowed a centralized Hebrew church to be scattered all over the new world. (P 26)
  • Church happens when a group of people decide to go on a mission with God together. (P 46)
  • How “missional” you are is largely determined by the extent to which your people model the life, activities, and words of Jesus. (P 52)
  • The reality is that living this way means you don’t get what your flesh wants.  You don’t get to keep all the money.  You don’t get to do whatever you want with your time.  You have to share your house, your stuff, your money, your kids.  You have to exchange your ambitions for God’s your kingdom for his, and you must be available for God to interrupt your nicely scheduled day with needs that will cause you to pull your hair out. (P 79)
  • The great things of God cost us our life. (P 80)
  • It’s time that we begin developing qualitative methods for turning consumers into missionaries, fans into followers, adherents into leaders. (P 80)
  • Deeper discipleship can’t happen from the pulpit or through church programs.  It seems to happen best when a leader gives someone personal time. (P 86)
  • The gravity towards consumerism is simply a symptom of how bored our people are with the basic Christian experience. (P 92)
  • The most meaningful experience a person can have in this life is to feel connected with God – to know that God is leading their lives. (P 93)
  • The common message of controlling sin, going to church, reading your Bible, journaling, and praying is that it just does not paint a compelling enough picture to keep people engaged spiritually, nor does it actually produce an active spirituality where people see God and grow. (P 93)
  • [Jesus] didn’t waste time and emotional energy planning programs or leading strategy efforts to draw people to a consumer-oriented environment.  And he wasn’t too worried about opening the front door or closing the back door of his group of disciples.  Instead, Jesus preferred to allow people to observe him and make that extra effort to figure him out.  He knew that the real seekers would keep pursuing him and wouldn’t be satisfied until they had come to him. (P 105)
  • People are not drawn to mission statements anymore.  They are drawn to stories like their own. (P 107)
  • In the absence of vision, pettiness prevails.
  • The church service is not inherently a problem, but it can lead to the consumer-oriented faith we’ve all come to know and lament.  Weekly services take a lot of time and resources, and they have the potential of lulling people into a spectator religiosity. (P 163)
  • If the vision of the church is not scary if it doesn’t require everyone to pitch in, if faith is not needed, then folks will stay home and watch the football game. (P 172)
  • If you try to start a church or grow a church you often attract people who just want to do “church things”; but if you start with a mission, God will draw people together and church will happen naturally. (P 174)
  • Imagine what would happen if the average pastor/teacher who gives 25-30 hours a week to preparing a sermon actually gave 25-30 hours a week to teaching people how to teach other people the scriptures? (P 184)
  • Faith is easy when you don’t need it.  And when you don’t need it, it’s not faith at all! (P 200)

Personal thoughts

The church in America (and all of western civilization) is in crisis right now.  Everyone knows it but few know what to do about it.  Attractional churches like Willow Creek began to emerge 30 years ago because traditional churches failed to change and were becoming irrelevant.  Many pastors and Christian leaders gravitated towards that model because unlike traditional churches it was engaging and relevant to people’s lives.

But in recent years, there’s been a backlash against attractional churches.  Our culture has changed again.  Many people disdain organized religion.  Many people are skeptical of anything that appears over-produced and inauthentic, including church services.  Many people are tired of structure, rules, and authority.  And those are people within the church.

As a result, many Christian leaders repelled by attractional churches have started emergent, organic, house, and missional churches.  In some ways, these movements have been a reaction to the seeker church movement, and so there’s been a lot of criticism and resistance within them towards the icon of the attractional church, the large worship service.

AND is an extremely important book, because it bridges the gap between the attractional and missional models.  It makes a convincing case that churches in general need to be more missional, that missional organizations need large gatherings and structure if they’re going to continue to disciple and send out more missional people, and that it’s both scriptural and logical for churches to embrace both a sending and gathering nature.

AND really resonated with me because I’ve been wrestling with the whole attractional vs missional dilemma.  I’ve been a bit frustrated with some aspects of attractional churches, and I have to admit that the idea of ditching the Sunday service engaging exclusively with an organic/house church has had some appeal.  But I’ve had a hard time finding vibrant, outreaching, house churches, which has made me skeptical that it’s a more viable expression of church.  AND helped me understand my discontent with attractional churches and my disappointment with more missional house churches, and showed me that churches ought to be a combination of the two.

AND is a book I think every pastor, church leader, missionary, and parachurch leader should read

Discussion

  1. Do you agree that it’s possible – even necessary – for a church to be both attractional and missional?  If so why?
  2. Is your church more attractional or missional in nature?
  3. In what if any ways is your church working to become stronger (missional or attractional) in the area where its been historically weaker?

Get a Free Book

If you’d like a free copy of AND, all you have to do is

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One person will be randomly selected the afternoon of Wednesday 7/14 to receive a free copy.

Of course, you could buy a copy of AND now (affiliate link) and if you’re lucky enough to win, you can give that copy away.

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