Review: AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church
by Hugh Halter
I thoroughly enjoyed reading AND. I was recently challenged to consider the tyranny of the word “or.” Essentially, we use “or” in places to indicate a choice between two things that may not need to be placed at either end of a spectrum, especially in organizational life. (i.e., Do you prefer contemporary worship OR expository preaching?) We need to be much more watchful about how we use “or” in leadership, because we may set people up to have to lean in a particular direction when in reality we should encourage better balance.
This book does just that in reference to the sending and gathering of the church. The mission of the church is go into the world and make disciples. There is a “going” (they call it scattering) mode to the identity of the church.
On the other hand, it’s also imperative that the church gathers. It’s plain in the New Testament that new believers and the disciples of Christ came together corporately for worship, instruction and encouragement.
BOTH are needed.
In today’s western Christian culture, there have tended to be folks on the scattered extreme lobbing criticisms at the institutional, corporate and gathered church. Some of their points are valid.
On the other hand, the gathered church has valid concerns about the organic, decentralized, house church movement.
As pastors of a church called Adullam, authors Matt Smay and Hugh Halter encourage us to not choose “or” but to choose “and.” We need both. They have strong words for those in both camps and urge extremists to be faithful to scripture, consistent in mission and authentic in community.
One of the best chapters in the book is their rewrite of the modality and sodality principles first expounded by renown missiologist Ralph Winter.
Should you read this book OR not?