A Book Worth Reading

Last January we decided to put the Innovate Conference on the shelf for a year--and instead launch a conference called AND this fall. Then in February I heard about a book coming out by the same name--AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church.

A month later I met Hugh Halter--one of the authors of the AND book. He's a tough-looking dude and I thought he might tear me apart for stealing his book name to launch a conference. But he bought my story that I didn't know about his book and was full of grace and offered to help us.

A couple days ago...I pulled out my copy of AND (by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay) and started reading it. And you know what? It's a great book. Some of my takeaways include...

  • "Missional isn't a form of church. It's a label we give to the qualitative or descriptive aspect of how a church actually lives." We often think that a mega-church is, by default, not missional. These authors disagree.
  • The authors contend you can't have an effective church-planting strategy without about two-years of making friends: "Without a friendship-level understanding of people, we tend to make coarse generalizations, false assummptions, and judgmental analyses, and we initiate arrogant movement toward people."
  • "The pain of providing what people want instead of what they need will eventually either kill you or cause you to ask, 'Why am I doing this anyway? Is it worth all the agony? What was the main thing I'm trying to do again?'"
  • Want to try to shift people in your church to be more missional? "All you need is a handful of people who want to pilot an incarnational community. You don't have to hit an iceberg and capsize the whole ship to begin the new voyage. Will one little schooner change the direction of the ship? Not by itself. But eventually the stories of the missional communities will filter up into the general church population and begin perking curiosity and stirring up more buy-in for the next wave of would-be missionaries and missionary communities."
  • Regarding consumerism: "People don't need most of the stuff we give them. In fact, there seems to be a direct correlation between providing too much and the immaturity that develops when people are given the chance to overindulge." The authors go on to say there is only one way to overcome the problem of consumerism: "You have to remove what they are consuming." Wow.

If you've been reading LeadingSmart.com for long--you know I've been in the middle of this conversation about how to reach the growing percentage of Americans for whom the "go to a church building to learn about God" model isn't working. It's why we are hosting the AND Conference in November--to continue and broaden the conversation.

No need to wait until then...let's start now. What are your thoughts?

Tim Stevens7 Comments