Book Review – AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church

July 16, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | 1 Comment
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Halter, Hugh and Matt Smay. AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2010. 205pp.

Here are two leaders that have sought to find balance in what they believe and how they live out their beliefs. They have planted a church in Denver; it would seem by “accident.” But there is a method to their madness. Their struggles and victories are the basis for their story. It is an interesting read of how they found balance and harmony between being attractional and missional.

There is an introduction and eight chapters to the book. They use some basic graphics to help illustrate some of their points. On a personal level I would have liked to see some documentation, especially when they used the terms sodalic and modalic. They do give information on how to access Ralph Winters’ original article. But I would have liked to see some more of their research and documentation. But I think this book is more of a testimony than a textbook and that is alright.

Overall this book is a testimony of how God worked in Hugh’s life and how that transferred to the lives around him. The story of how God began the planting of their church on pages 45-48 is pretty good. I especially appreciated Hugh’s honesty on page 47 about God waiting on him. I am also sure that anyone who has been hurt or deeply discouraged in any church context could relate to the story.

The questions of “how to do church” and “what the church must do” (p. 26) have been asked for a long time. The AND is their testimony of finding the balance between gathering and scattering. They would also tell you that not every church should or could be a church like theirs. They allow freedom in the quest to know both yourselves and your community and then to find the balance in gathering and scattering. I thought chapter 6 spoke very well to this point.

I especially liked a thought from chapter 7. “…… 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). I think every church planter and pastor should keep this in mind and teach it regularly.

Many people over many years have been trying to find the harmony of being “gathered and scattered.” This is not a new problem or question for church leaders. That issue has crossed many generational lines and probably will continue to challenge God’s people until Jesus returns for His Church. But Hugh and Matt share their testimony and present the Church with some interesting and encouraging material for us to read and learn from.

On a clearly personal note, they may have planted and are leading a church that is very different from someone else’s church and that is o.k., really, that is o.k. There are different expressions of the local body of Christ. God works in His children’s lives however He wants too. I may not attend a church like theirs, but I am glad their church is here reaching people I would not be able to reach. So I appreciate their obedience to God in living and serving how they believe He wants them too. Thank you for helping to build His Kingdom.

I would recommend this book to any church leader or potential leader as a helpful tool in learning more about being the Church and living out the mission of the Church in their context. A few differences or disagreements aside, I am glad I spent the time reading this book. It would be a helpful addition to any church leader’s library. I received this book for free and offer objective feedback.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; 2 Peter 3:18

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  1. Bill,

    Thank you for the review of AND. Have just finished it myself and was very encouraged by it.

    Have you read Hugh and Matt’s first book, The Tangible Kingdom and the follow-up workbook, The TK Primer? Both are worth your time. I have read TK twice and posted several times on it on my blog.

    Check out the website of Austin New Church for some excellent posts they wrote ss they went through TK Primer as a church.

    Blessings.


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