Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church by Halter and Smay

Missional. For some, that word represents a Spirit-led (and much needed) church shift. For others, a mere fad. For still others, perhaps something more threatening than a fad.

While I don't fall neatly into any of those camps, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay have taken the missional approach and shown how beautifully it compliments a more traditional approach to church, hence the subtitle: "The gathered and scattered church".

This book feels like a healthy balance to the abundance of missional books out there, and it is certainly less intimidating and threatening for those coming from a traditional church background (such as myself). At the core of their approach is the idea that the church needs both those who "go" and those who "make disciples". There are the senders and there are the sent. This is not only a marriage between two types of people in the church, but a union of two approaches to church itself. We gather to equip, to train, to encourage, to build up. Then we scatter to evangelize, to speak, to reach out.

The overabundance of what some would consider missional buzzwords (like "incarnational" and other words my spell checker keeps underlining) may be distracting for some. However, while this book is clearly written by a couple guys immersed in the missional and house church movements, the merits of the book and the approach itself should win out.

For some, this book may be a real paradigm shift. For others, this may simply be an articulation of what community on mission has always looked like and always been about.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Recommended for: Church leaders, those interested in evangelism, outreach, church structure

This book was a free review copy provided by Zondervan.


Anonymous said...

The question arises as to which or whose church?

Especially as there are now over 30.000 Christian denominations, sects and sub-sects, all of which to one degree or another, claim to be an expression of authentic Christianity.

Jared Totten said...

I think the central commission to "Go" and to "Make disciples" transcends denominations and sects. In fact, one could make the argument that it is of primary importance that the whole Church is going and making disciples, and of secondary importance as to which denomination we are making them disciples of.

When it comes to the body of Christ, salvation and the great commission transcend denominations.