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

  1. Retweet this post or share it on Facebook, and
  2. Post a meaningful comment to this post that contributes to the conversation (include your Facebook or Twitter usename in your comment so I can connect your comment to your share/tweet).

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.

28 Responses to “Get a Free Copy of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church”

  1. I think you meant to write “attractional” and not “attritional” but perhaps it was a freudian slip…

  2. You mentioned that the culture of the church setting has been changing. I have seen this in my own community too. And there are some worship environments that are more entertainment than authentic worship. I would love a copy of this book to see how to better balance ‘community and mission’ without jeopardizing the nature of God in either setting or style.

  3. love the new look.
    I think that the Church can be both Attractive and Missional, but I see Attractive being more random and more of a hovering presence that is good to maintain.
    However as for Missional, I see that as being strategic and focused for the long term and for short term projects.
    I believe that we need to be more strategic and focused with small teams working together rather then just 100’s of people being random on facebook and/or twitter.

  4. What up Paul! I swear I’m not just commenting to get the free book – that’s just one of several reasons:)

    I recently finished The Tangible Kingdom (http://tangiblekingdom.com/) which was the book Halter and Smay wrote before AND. Before I was halfway finished with it I begged my husband to read it with me. Just after he started reading it we bought three more copies to circulate between our closest friends. These books can and should change the way we live…

    I think that’s why I’m such a huge fan. Most of the home church/missional living/ancient practice books you read feel very anti-church, anti-pastor, anti-everything we’ve known or experienced in the last 10 or 15 years. The Tangible Kingdom and AND challenge the reader to closely examine how missional their lives are because this is where true incarnational living begins…inside each and every one of us.

    Instead of becoming inspired to point a judgmental finger at all the reasons I feel the modern church is lacking I’ve had to take a critical inventory of my own habits, relationships, and beliefs since reading The Tangible Kingdom.

    At the end of the day if I’m left with a bitter taste in my mouth because my “church” isn’t living up to its Biblical potential then I’ve missed the point because according to the gospel I am the church. TK and AND were the reminder I’ve needed for a long time.

    Well done Halter. Well done Smay.

    • Thanks Jan. I appreciate your comment. And I think you’re right – even if a person’s church does not support or encourage missional initiatives each of us is capable of living a missional life.

  5. I have often used the heart as an illustration of this principle of gathering and scattering. As the heart pumps blood into the lungs it gets oxygen. Then the blood returns to the heart where it pumps it to the rest of the body.

    The church gathers for worship, it scatters for witness; gathers for fellowship, scatters for ministry; gathers for encouragement, scatters for service.

    @rlsipes

  6. Why can’t a church have elements of both? The church I’m at now is a “seeker”/attractional church in that our services are meant to attract those that either don’t know God or are disgusted with “church”. But how we are in a way missional in my head is that our growth groups are like very community oriented. They have created an environment where through these growth groups people are living life with each other during the week. which in turn is taking the church to even more people.

  7. I currently attend an attractional church. The emphasis is on doing everything with “excellence” and ensuring everything looks and flows smoothly throughout the service. We have been without a missions pastor for sometime, which has left a huge hole in the missions area of our community (within the church). We donate to missions organizations and we have a life group that focuses on missions opportunities, but even when those opportunities arise, there is little participation. In a church of 1,000, the same 10 people always show up.

    Christ was all about missions. The great commission did not state we are to build large, elaborate churches with professional praise and worship teams and phenomenal children’s programs. The commission was to GO and tell. It was to show love. It was to share all you have. Yes, ALL, not just 10%!

    I would love to find a church that was able to combine the best of both characteristics. I’ve even considered attending two churches, just to fill the gap!

  8. Great book, I resonate deeply with the model, if that is what we call it. We actually set aside all of July for people to tell their stories at our faith community. I loved what they said about the importance of story. [see Donald Miller for more on story]

    Favorite quote was “Stop worrying about assimilating them [the church] Be yourself, tell your story, and passionately say what you heart feels, and if people are sniffing the same air, you will find some fellow Kingdom sojourners.”

    • Hey Rusty, yeah, I think churches underestimate the importance of stories and under-utilize them. And it’s great to hear people’s stories of coming to faith in Christ, people should be telling all kinds of other stories – stories of how their small/life group impacted their life, stories of how serving gives their life meaning, etc. Everything a church is challenging people to do, they should be having people tell stories of people who already have done it.

  9. Loved it. Thanks for the review, Paul. Obviously it’s not an either/or situation — it’s a both/and.

    The more we (the Church) connect as a seamless tapestry city-by-city, neighborhood by neighborhood, we’ll see a different (better) model of the New Testament Church breaking out here in the U.S.

    And as you know and practice… social media tools are great for accelerating that connecting/teaming-up process. Keep up the great work @OurChurchDotCom

    -Neil (Cox)
    @IndyChristian

    Btw, check out our local twitter tapestry of 300+ Hoosiers (and a few honorary Hoosiers *wink*)… http://DrivenChristians.com

  10. LOL, i’ll be honest: I am replying to get the free book 😉 but with a reason. Reading the review i recognize the situation described in our part of the world too, so i’d like to give it a go, translate it and see if i can get it published overhere.

  11. Congrats to Richard Sipes (@rlsipes) winner of the free copy of AND!

    Thanks to everyone who tweeted, shared, and commented.

    As I said in my review, AND is a book I think every pastor, church leader, missionary, and parachurch leader should read. You can buy a copy on Amazon at http://amzn.to/9F96Nf

  12. I’d love a free copy of this book, as Ive heard great things about it.

  13. I’m commenting late in the game. I had to think about this and come back to it. It really is a hot button. You hear words like authenticity and revolution just about everywhere you go. The lines are getting smeared again. People want the real. Many know the church looks different moving forward, but nobody really knows exactly what it looks like. One thing we do know is that it’s truth that makes people free, not religious forms. Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  14. I agree that people are not drawn to mission statements, they want to be engaged by a message that moves them in their heart and gives them a sense of passion and meaning.

  15. Well ill be honest im just replaying cause my friend is not christian and i am trying to get her to go to church but i cant and i though that maybe this book could make her change what she thinks and her life on the other hand GOD bless you and have a great day

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church ONLINE July 13th, 2010 by Paul Steinbrueck ShareI recently finished reading the book AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (see my review & get a free copy here). […]

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  6. Missional House Churches Ebook - October 15, 2010

    […] Get a Free Copy of AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church | Live … 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 LOL, i'll be honest: I am replying to get the free book ) but with a reason. Reading the review i recognize the situation described in our part of the world too, so i'd like to give it a go, translate it and see if i can get it published overhere. […]

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