And: The Gathered and Scattered Church

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AND, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, asks and provides an answer for one of the most important questions for church leaders today: What is happening to the church in America?

By all appearances, it looks like we are “doing” church better than we ever have. In the past thirty years the number of mega-churches has increased from under 100 to over 7,500. In the past ten years the number of multi-site churches has increased from under 100 to over 2,000. By the numbers, these church ...

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AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church

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AND, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, asks and provides an answer for one of the most important questions for church leaders today: What is happening to the church in America?

By all appearances, it looks like we are “doing” church better than we ever have. In the past thirty years the number of mega-churches has increased from under 100 to over 7,500. In the past ten years the number of multi-site churches has increased from under 100 to over 2,000. By the numbers, these church movements enjoy the national platform, the national voice, and the resources to profoundly impact the Kingdom.

In spite of the rapid growth of these prevailing church movements, why is the Western church still in massive decline?

Numerous books have been written documenting the flight of members from the institutional church. This is not another book about how to do church better or how to just get people back into the pews.

AND helps you—whether you are a mega-church, traditional, contemporary, or organic church leader—focus on the vast majority of unchurched Christians and non-believers who are not moving toward any form of church. You will learn how to value existing church forms—attracting people to a physical church and releasing people into hands-on ministry … bringing together the very best of the attractional and missional models for church ministry.

AND will equip you and all church leaders to value existing church forms while catalyzing a missional movement of incarnational people into the world for Jesus Christ.

AND is the second book in the Exponential Series—a partnership between Exponential Network, Leadership Network, and Zondervan featuring several signature books each year to tell the reproducing church story, celebrate the diversity of models and approaches God is using to reproduce healthy congregations, and highlight the innovative practices of healthy reproducing churches.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“When Hugh Halter and Matt Smay told me about the concept of the book AND, I thought it was brilliant. It is so easy for a body of believers to emphasize either the corporate gathering or the missional communities, often to the neglect of the other. At times, the methodological boundary lines have felt like the evangelical civil war with cannon shots fired at one another while the lost world stood aside with their ears covered. AND unites the divided methods with the singular motivation of the gospel and urges the church to focus on the mission of Jesus in the sanctuaries AND in the streets.” — Scott Thomas

“Hugh and Matt get it. The issue in the American church is not the form or the technology. It’s about what each leader is gifted with and given to become in their context. Forms are dictated by multiple streams of input and relational intersection. May there be a new diaspora of AND churches.” — Dave Gibbons

By helping us recover our fundamental identity as missionaries and going toe-to-toe with the curse and baggage of consumerism, Halter and Smay give fresh stories and insights into what it will take to recover movements here in the US. They have stumbled on the genius of the AND, and they are calling us all to lay down our petty arguments about forms and begin to pursue afresh the mission of God in all its forms. Read this book only if you are ready to take notes, repent often, and apply practical advice for pursuing the mission of God wherever you are.” — Matt Carter/Michael Steward

“In this pioneering book, Hugh and Matt extend their vision for incarnational community by offering a model of integration for established churches. Because both of them are long-term innovators, trainers, and practitioners of incarnational mission, this book has real significance and effectively advances our thinking on the critical edge. Well done, guys.” — Alan Hirsch

“AND comes at an important time for church leaders. With humility and thoughtfulness, Hugh and Matt talk people off ledges created by artificial and superficial understandings of how the expression of church in North America is undergoing change during this period of missional renewal. Their refreshing insight results from being open and honest about their own journey while respecting others’ stories.” — Reggie Mc Neal

“I really appreciate reading a book that recognizes the need to get past simplistic either/or categories and is ready to love the people of God where they are, not where someone wants them to be. The conjunction AND runs through this book alongside a deep passion to see local communities of God’s people shaping missional life out of their traditions. In this book you will meet passionate practitioners seeking to understand what the Spirit is up to in our times.” — Alan Roxburgh

“Hugh and Matt speak to the church with vulnerability, practical experience, and an engaging style. This book is a timely addition to the ongoing missional church conversation; it is easy to read, insightful, and helps to build needed bridges.” — Neil Cole

“Every church leader struggles to find a way to lead authentically according to their church, but most of the time we feel forced to choose between forms that just don’t fit us, our people, our context, or all of the above. In AND, Hugh and Matt explain the tension you feel and help you unlock a creative balance that might just change everything.” — Rick Mk Kinley

“In the missional conversation, there are ‘radicals’ who propose that we chop down the tree, burn the stump, and plant something new, and there are ‘reformers’ that say maybe the tree is so precious it should be saved. Matt and Hugh are reformers that embrace the genius of AND rather than proposing a new methodology. I love this book.” — John Herrington

AND is for anyone ready to stop criticizing church models and instead enter the tangled, messy, real-life world of embracing and building the kingdom in any form of church—micro to mega. Hugh and Matt bring us back to essentials—like spiritual formation and ‘sending’—that hold true in any church context and convey great hope and practical help with humor, story, and biblical teaching. Read on and lead on, right where you are.” — Mindy Caliguire




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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310325857
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/28/2010
  • Series: Exponential SeriesSeries Series
  • Pages: 205
  • Sales rank: 849,974
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Hugh Halter is the national director of Missio, serving as a mentor to a global network of missional leaders and church planters. He is lead architect of Adullam, a congregational network of missional communities in Denver, Colorado (, and is the coauthor of The Tangible Kingdom with Matt Smay.

Matt Smay serves as the director of the Missional Church Apprenticeship Practicum for Missio, where he works directly with church planters and existing church pastors as a mentor, coach, and consultant, and he is also a leader of Adullam. Matt lives near Denver, Colorado, with his wife, Maren, and daughter, Maegan. He is an avid golfer, loves mountain biking and fly-fishing, and enjoys the outdoors with his family.

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Read an Excerpt


The Gathered and Scattered Church
By Hugh Halter Matt Smay


Copyright © 2010 Hugh Halter and Matt Smay
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-32585-7

Chapter One

The Beautifully Sent Church

Before I share this next thought, I feel compelled, out of my personal insecurity, to tell you that I'm a man ... a real man, a man's man. I like mixed martial arts. I often eat an entire Chipotle burrito with extra meat. I enjoy fishing, hunting, and taking the top off my Jeep Wrangler during 2:00 p.m. lightning storms in Denver. I don't eat glass, but I do enjoy the challenge of seeing how many pieces of bacon I can consume without negative internal issues. I'd like to keep going so you really know that I'm securely entrenched in my manhood, but I should probably move on.

The reason I waste your time proving myself to you is because yesterday, while in the lobby of a hotel, I was watching a morning news show where the newscasters were sharing the story of Christian the Lion. There's a book about this lion available, so I'll spare you the details, but essentially these two dudes who lived in London decided to purchase and try raising a lion together. Even though they didn't know much about lions, they apparently did a great job. Eventually, when their pet lion reached adult size, they felt compelled to release it into the African wild. They weren't sure if he would survive, and it was incredibly painful for them to say goodbye to Christian.

A year later, they decided to return to Africa and see how the lion they had raised was doing and whether he would still recognize them. They had a video camera on the scene when Christian came out of the woods, and the news show let us watch their reunion. It was pretty amazing! Christian the Lion came slowly out of the savanna, caught wind of his old friends, and then saw them off in the distance. Excitedly, he rushed toward them and mauled them with love and licks and lion hugs and all sorts of other feline mushy stuff. As I watched, I had to look around to make sure no one was watching me, because I was whimpering like a teenage cheerleader who just got dumped by her first boyfriend.

So why all the emotion? Whenever I see someone invest time and energy and love into something and then willingly sacrifice it, giving away what they have, it's powerful!

I've seen a similar story played out many times when I've been fortunate enough to officiate weddings. Just last year in Adullam, I performed thirteen wedding ceremonies. Most of them were in beautiful settings. Some were in the Rocky Mountains, often overlooking spacious woods, canyons, or rivers. Some were in the city in ornate churches, and two were actually on beaches-one in Florida and one in Cancún.

Most of the couples I knew very well. As I had a hand in even helping some of them connect, I always felt compelled to get to know the parents during the preliminaries. On the rehearsal day, the moms were usually busy, scurrying around working, while the dads tended to lie back, grab a beer, and wait for their one and only responsibility. Although the job of the bride's father is pretty easy, I've learned that I need to have them practice it at least once. Their primary task? To give away their daughter, the bride.

Most of the fathers I've had the privilege of knowing were pretty burly dudes, hearty blokes with calloused hands, a hard work ethic, and broken-down bodies as evidence. Yet without exception I find that during the trial run these guys seem to get really quiet, some times even welling up with a few tears. It's only practice, but they seem to suddenly get serious when the thought hits them and they realize they are about to say goodbye to their little lady.

The next day, the real deal happens. After the procession, a few songs are sung, maybe a reading or two, then the music changes to signal the entrance of the bride. As the reverend, I always try to remain composed ... after all, that is my job. But something diabolical happens to me at this point. I always make the mistake of looking at the face of the bride's father. Most of the time you can see the dad starting to quiver, his eyes filling with moisture as he reflects on how important this girl has been to him. Most men don't think in detailed pictures, but no dad can forget the thousands of memories: the times we protected them, worked hard to provide for them, taught them to drive, took them to practice, rooted for them in the bleachers, or drove them to their first day of college. It's just too darn much to take in! Every time I see the face of that father, I just lose it and have to fight to keep from bawling like a baby.

The father slowly walks his cherished daughter down the aisle. The music stops. Dad stands proudly, painfully holding back his emotions, as I say, "Who gives this woman to be joined in marriage with this man?" After a pause, the father responds, "I do." He then takes his daughter's arm and gently unwraps it from his, bends down to kiss his baby goodbye, and extends her hand out toward this new man and her new life with him.

I realize that some people today think that marriage is old-fashioned and unrealistic. And there are people today who feel the same way about the church. They think the church is outdated, boring, worthless, archaic, self-serving, and out of touch, a waste of time and a poor use of money. But the Scriptures speak clearly for God when they call the church his bride, and it is in this title and in the essence of being given away that we will find the meaning and reason to keep going.

I share this reminder of the church because I know how easy it is to forget this amid the mundane duties often required to lead a church. So many-dare I say the majority?-of existing pastors and church planters we've run with often speak respectfully, but discouragingly, about what life has become for them serving in vocational ministry. Things like sermon preparation, staff issues, people in constant crisis, friends letting you down, constant critique from other people (and yourself), people expecting more time than you can give, your spouse and children not getting enough of your time or the right type of time, arguments over silly stuff like how we sing to God, what we should do with church money, how do we get more church money without making it seem like we want their money, how we relate to our denomination when they seem to be out of touch and unwilling to measure or manage the right things, not to mention clarifying vision, values, mission, and blah blah blah ...

I suppose you could add a few hundred of your own personal zingers. Add to these struggles the myriad internal pressures of trying to be an authentic person, a faithful leader amid peer pres sure, trying to perform and succeed (or at least to save face) while fighting to live as a true missionary, and spending time with those outside the church walls when it seems as though the only way to hold "the thing" together is to spend more time in the church building.

Without a reminder of the bigger picture of God's church, we can often settle for a view of church leadership that is more like cleaning the garage or babysitting than the adventurous voyage we believe it should be. What should be the best thing in the world isn't at all compelling or curious to the unchurched. Most of the time it's not even all that meaningful for a good majority of those in the church. We know the idea of church still makes a lot of sense, and at times we garner more buyin from the congregation and compel folks to get more involved or to be more committed. Yet at the end of each week, we feel as if we're still trying to lasso mice or sell sand to people who live on the beach.

So how are we to feel about church? How are we to feel about God, for that matter? Why should we continue to justify the toll it plays on our psyche and our families? Does God really expect his leaders to continue to fight through all of this without heavy doses of Prozac?

And yet, miracle of all miracles, more and more leaders keep signing up and trying to make it happen. It's sort of like watching ten well-trained bull riders get kicked off, stepped on, ground into the dirt, and gored. Yet for some strange reason the next guy happily ropes in and rides the same bull. There's just something about this thing called church that captures our hearts and keeps us fighting for a better day.

Maybe it's that exhilarating feeling you get when one-yes, even one-person moves an inch forward spiritually. Or hearing a couple say they've found a home in your church, or knowing that people took care of someone in need or bailed someone out. Twice a year we baptize people in a lake by my house, and I have never driven home from those times dry-eyed. There is nothing quite like the thrill of witnessing a whole community of people, standing ankle deep in the water, express their allegiance with scared but smiling "dunkees." It's about the best feeling in the world. Although the good moments don't seem to come as often as the difficult moments, I think I'm beginning to understand why I'm doing this church thing after all.

It's sort of like that part of the lion story where the two guys send their beloved Christian away, or where the father gives his daughter away to experience the joy of a new life with her husband. It's the sentness of the church-giving ourselves away so that others can know God-that keeps us all in the game, playing our hearts out. The mysterious awe associated with the Bride of Christ is in the character of her sacrificial and missional calling. The church is beautiful because it is endowed with the purpose of giving herself away wholeheartedly to the world God desires to redeem. To move past all the paralyzing church deconstruction, it may be helpful to rehear the story of the bride.


The "giving away" of the church begins in Genesis 12. Although many scholars point out that the church was not formally born until the New Testament, all would agree that God begins the work of sending a redemptive people on mission in these early chapters of Genesis. Up to this point in the biblical story, God has had an intimate relationship with just a few families. He spends most of these years straightening out the evil of humanity. Sin enters in the world through Adam and Eve, family troubles spread with Cain and Abel, and eventually the world is filled with human sin and rebellion. When enough is enough and God can't take it anymore, he wipes the world out, redeeming a few people in the family of Noah.

Yet the evil of the human race continues, and in the story of the Tower of Babel God responds to human evil by dividing people from each other, spreading them throughout the world. After Babel, human beings are now separated-not only from God, but also from one another. Strife, war, brutality, and dissension rule the day, and God begins a master plan to redeem the world, setting in motion a cross-cultural community that will bring his blessing to this messed-up world. It's a rescue plan to save sinful humanity.

In Genesis 12:1, God says to a man named Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." Abram (later to be called Abraham) is the start of God's plan of salvation. With these words we see the Father sending his redemptive community out into the world. God the Father is starting to give his baby away on her wedding day.

In Genesis 12:2-3, God continues:

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

The people of God are being sent to live in a pagan land. Why? So they may bring the blessing of God wherever they go.


Excerpted from AND by Hugh Halter Matt Smay Copyright © 2010 by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Introduction A Church the World Is Asking For....................15
Chapter 1 The Beautifully Sent Church....................29
Chapter 2 Starting the AND ... Wherever You Are....................50
Chapter 3 Consumerless Church: Every Church's Dream, Every Church's Nightmare....................72
Chapter 4 Spiritual Formation for Missional Churches....................90
Chapter 5 The Big AND: Gathered and Scattered in Perfect Harmony....................123
Chapter 6 Morph: Transitioning from Gathered to Gathered AND Scattered....................143
Chapter 7 To Gather or Not to Gather: Is That the Question?....................158
Chapter 8 Legacy: Live as if You're Really Dying....................189
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    What the church should be

    Hugh Halter and Matt Smay have given believers something to chew on with this book. Realizing as others have that the church has remained too "in-focused" and "consumer-crazed," have called leaders to take a fresh look at what their local assemblies should be doing as bodies of God's people. In entertaining language the authors have correctly stated the biblical mindset of the church_gathered together for mutual well-being, yet purposefully looking for ways to take the gospel out. Programs that all too often run their course in months or less are replaced by a fundamental spirit of seeking opportunities for going forth with the gospel. Mission is not promoted in overt ways as in large crusades, but in determined and caring ways sharing Christ in a winsome manner.The highlight of the book is chapter seven which asks in the title, "To Gather or Not to Gather: Is that the Question?" Here the authors begin with a history of how churches gathered and then move toward practical ideas on how to gather while simultaneously having the willing attitude of scattering. What is done about children, the sermon, and worship in general? Several pointers are presented to aid the reader.The authors do sometimes overstate their case and improperly relate the point of a biblical text. Discernment will be needed in those cases. All told this is a thought-provoking and inspiring book that can be given a fair look.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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