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

Pray for Church Planters

February 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Church Planting, prayer | Leave a comment
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This week I spent some time talking about church planting and praying about church planting. So I thought it would be good for us to pray about church planting. I don’t have any one city in mind, but the northeastern United States could certainly use some prayer.

Pick a city other than the one you live in and ask God to:

  1. Raise up men to go there and plant sound Biblical churches.
  2. Lead the church planters to the gatekeepers and to let them find favor with them.
  3. Lead the church planters to the persons of peace and to be able to lead them to faith in Christ.
  4. To protect them and their families spiritually, physically and emotionally.
  5. Raise up an intercessory prayer team for them, their families and the churches.
  6. To provide them encouragers for the rough times they will encounter.
  7. For the church planters to lead people to Christ and to make disciples and train leaders.
  8. For these churches to become strong and healthy and to plant other churches also.

(36)When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (37)Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. (38)Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38 NIV)

(6)No one is like You, O Lord: You are great and Your name is mighty in power. (7)Who should not revere You, O King of the nations? This is Your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like You. (Jeremiah 10:6-7 NIV)

Trust God to do mighty things in answer to your prayers of faith. He delights to hear His children pray. Thank you for praying,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

(Romans 15:13)

“He who lives without prayer, he who lives with little prayer, he who seldom reads the Word, and he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high — he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren.”

 – C. H. Spurgeon

“Oh! Men and brethren, that God would appear among us and do wondrous things here, as in the times of former generations.” – C. H. Spurgeon

“There is yet very much land to be possessed, and our plea to you is: ‘Come over and help us’ to possess it for our God and for the truth as it is in Jesus…The situation is more urgent and pressing than ever. There remain as many souls to be reached; the work has been increased in difficulty; and our time for its accomplishment is diminishing. When it is remembered, in connection with the foregoing, that a little time is necessary to fit new men for work, now is emphatically our time.” – J. A. Brunson (a missionary to Japan in the late 1800’s)

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