Exponential – Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

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The Exponential Conference is over for another year and I have decided to spread out my blog posts and keep them short, rather than trying to pack thee full days of solid content into a post or two.

I wanted to start with a workshop called Gathered & Scattered with Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, of Adullam Communities in Denver. They wrote the Tangible Kingdom Primer that we used in forming the reconnect launch team.

These guys are part of a form of church that is both gathered and scattered, rather than the default, gathered mode of most western churches. It’s true – most people, church attenders or not hear about church planting and ask me when and where our first service will be, and when the building goes up! We have generally forgotten the scattered, sent, serving mode of church exists at all, outside of occasional forays in outreach or overseas missions.

Adullum is instead built around a network of communities – groups sometimes smaller, sometimes larger than conventional small groups, but with a broader focus than care. They have intentionally defined what aspects of their church are scattered: Evangelism, Teaching, Shepherding and Crisis Intervention. They centralize, or gather on Sundays for Children’s ministries, some funding of ministries, but more importantly Vision, Communion (the Lord’s Supper) and the pastors do some “brokering” of pastoral care between groups.

Some memorable thoughts and ideas:

  • When you invite someone to church, who makes the cross-cultural shift? The invited person needs to come sing for 20 minutes…who in our culture sings for 20 minutes?
  • the modal (gathered) and sodal (scattered) modes require different gift mixes from the APEST list in Eph. 4. Sodal needs pastors and teachers. Modal is prophet, evangelist. And the Apostle tends to bridge both.
  • It is really hard to make disciples on Sundays
  • We are not against attractional, but it will not extend the kingdom anymore
  • We tell the gospel every Sunday at communion
  • worried about how to maintain doctrinal purity? That is the story of the New Testament!
  • They started as a “stealth church”. After writing their book, transfer growth started showing up, and they shifted from spending 90% of their time discipling new Christians, to 50% consumed by integrating Christians. So they stopped weekly worship, and the transfer growth only interested in a new worship experience (about 60 people) disappeared.

Needless to say, I was interested to hear about a model like this that is working, since it is very close to what I have in mind for Ajax, since so many are commuters on the go, scattered, and I long to see church form in a similar way.

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