How would you describe your church? How would you characterize the model your church has adopted? Are you an admittedly attractional church? Are you an externally focused church? Do you have missional aspirations? Are you attractional but want to be missional when you grow up?
One of the most challenging and inspiring books I tripped across in the last few years was The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. Last year I reviewed The Tangible Kingdom Primer, a “spiritual formation tool designed to prepare your heart for mission.” If you haven’t picked those two books up, I highly recommend them. I’m pretty sure you will also find a lot there that inspires and challenges you (a desirable confluence of emotions).
While at the Exponential Conference in Orlando earlier this year I had the chance to hear Hugh and Matt talk about their newest book, And: The Gathered and Scattered Church. I have to tell you, I immediately was captivated by what I took to be the central idea or acknowledgment. Here it is:
Although many of us who will read this book are admittedly part of the gathered church, we know we need to be missional if we’re going to truly reach the unchurched majority (whether you’re talking about the world in general or the United States in particular).
There are several things I really appreciate about And. First, I love the fact that And approaches the issue from both sides of the equation. Where most books that would be described as being written from a missional perspective are almost exclusively that (they often ignore the fact that we’re already gathered), this one includes a way of looking at the other side of the equation (i.e., how to move from gathered to gathered and scattered).
A second very important thing about And is that for Hugh Halter and Matt Smay this isn’t theory. In fact, this is the developing story of Adullum, their church in the Denver area. And answers the question, “What do you do if a more missional, more organic approach actually works and you begin to gather a church?” How do you help what you’ve gathered remain engaged in scattering?
Third, although there is plenty here that is practical and it delivers both a biblical understanding of the calling and a practical illustration of their methodology…And acknowledges that it is very much a work in progress. I think that might be what I appreciate the most about Hugh and Matt. They’re intensely engaged in the life themselves, but as they’re working it out they don’t claim to have all the answers…only the calling.
If you’re looking for help in moving your gathered church into a more scattered lifestyle, I highly recommend And: The Gathered and Scattered Church.
You can read the rest of my book reviews right here.
I found this promo video from Zondervan helpful in understanding the basic idea of And: