And: The Gathered and Scattered Church
A few weeks ago the book And: The Gathered and Scattered Church showed up on my front step (that’s because I bought it of course). This book was written by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay of Adullam Church in Denver, CO. I was interested in this book for a few reasons.
First of all, we use the phrase “shaping and sending” in our congregation as a short description of what we are doing. I respect (from afar) what these guys are doing so I was hoping this book would be a bit of the struggles and successes they’ve had in trying to work this out in the context of their community. I wasn’t disappointed. I really, really appreciated hearing their story. They didn’t approach the book as “here is how we did it and why we are some awesome.” Rather, I felt like I was sitting in a coffee shop with them as we conversed with the pains, struggles and joys of seeking to live as a community that is gathered together around Jesus Christ and sent into our neighborhoods, work places, schools, homes, etc to be the presence of Jesus.
The second thing I was hoping for was a recapturing of the significance of the “gathered” aspect of church family life. I’ve become more and more convinced that the weekly gathering is and should an extremely significant part of a community’s life together. I understand the recent efforts to de-emphasize the Sunday morning experience. But, I personally think that approach is an overreaction. Yes, the Sunday morning experience has become an idol for many. But I don’t think we need to throw it. We need to find harmony between the gathered and scattered nature of the church. If all we do is gather: no good. If all we do is scatter: no good either.
All that being said, I felt like this book is a really, really helpful dialogue partner for churches seeking to find that rhythm between gathering and scattering, or as we say it at The Well, shaping and sending.
Non Disclaimer, discplaimer: This book was not sent to me to review and I don’t know the authors (though, one of my favorite couples in the world just moved to Denver and I sent them to Adullam and they said they loved it and it felt like The Well – that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!). I just liked the book. I think you’ll like it too.