Zondervan on their blog tours. This time around, I am writing about a great book titled And by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay.
And is a great book that talks about the importance of both "the gathered and scattered church." Or in my own words this book attempts to show the importance of the missional church, but in a way that tries to combat the often seen argument for the "superiority" of the missional church over the church many have grown up in (Halter and Smay that the church most have grown up is synonymous with "consumer church"). Halter and Smay argue that it is not an "or" situation but rather an "and" situation. Math geeks everywhere get what they are saying (including myself).
The Foundation of the Book
In chapter 5, Halter and Smay point to an article by Ralph Winter (it can be found here), in which Winter points out the two functions of the church termed "modalities" and "sodalities." In reading, Halter and Smay you can see how this insight by Winter has really informed their argument for the importance of the "and" rather than the "or." Really what Halter and Smay are trying to say is the need for the "second decision" communities (sodalities) to help with the renewal of the Church in God's mission.
Why This Book is Needed
Probably, the best thing I took away after reading this book is the fact that Halter and Smay don't argue for the superiority of the "missional" church (or the "sodality"), but rather they try to point out the importance of both local congregations and missional communities (para-church organizations, house churches, etc.). Greatest of all they offer encouragement and advice for leaders within local congregations (pastors, etc.) who believe the church is called to much more than its current "modalic" existence. Their advice to start with a small amount of people who desire more and move from there is something that should give most local congregation leaders hope. It doesn't take "drastic" measures of scrapping the entire existence, it only takes trust in God and a willingness to start somewhere.