by Clayton J. Schmit
Schmit’s new book paves the way for a refreshing discussion highlighting the common ground that unites worship.
Baker Academic, 6030 E. Fulton, Ada, MI 49301, 224 pages, 2009, $19.99.
—Reviewed by Sarita D. Gallagher, Ph.D. candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary; adjunct professor of global studies at Azusa Pacific University.
It is a new day for Christian worship. While recent decades have included many denominational “worship wars,” Clayton J. Schmit notes that an era of missional unity is just around the corner. Schmit’s new book, Sent and Gathered, paves the way for a refreshing discussion highlighting the common ground that unites worship. While traditionally the differences between worship styles have been emphasized, Schmit turns our attention to the shared foundations of worship and the understanding that worship is mission. More than a theological textbook, Sent and Gathered provides a thoughtful exploration of how worship expresses God’s mission and also provides tangible ways in which the Church can develop a more missional worship style.
Schmit comes to the discussion with the insights of both a theologian and a practitioner. Accordingly, he divides his text into two sections: a theological exploration of worship and a practical guide for churches desiring to develop missional worship. In the first part Schmit builds on the works of theologians such as Darrell L. Guder and Miroslav Volf as he explores worship as missional, universal, creative, communicative, and contextual. In the second part the author broadens his discussion to include guidelines to help churches incorporate God’s heart for mission in their worship. Aware of differences in worship style, Schmit succeeds in providing a helpful manual for Christians of all church traditions.
At the heart of Sent and Gathered, and perhaps Schmit’s greatest contribution, is his four-part pattern of worship: gathering, word, sacraments, and sending. A helpful format central to most Christian worship styles, Schmit describes how each stage can be a reflection of God’s mission. In particular, the sending or commissioning of the church provides the opportunity for the congregation to continue worshipping God as they enter their daily lives. As Schmit states, worship not only gathers people together strengthening them with the word and sacraments, but it also “sends them out into the external activities of mission that take place beyond the church doors” (p. 46). Worship, therefore, is not only adoration of God, but also a strong call to action.
In Sent and Gathered, Schmit provides a much needed resource for church leaders and congregants who seek to develop a practical understanding of missional worship. In the process, he clearly achieves his goal of moving the North American Church toward a practical theology of worship. Relevant, insightful, and contemporary, Sent and Gathered is a foundational text for anyone seeking to explore the richness of worship as an expression of God’s mission.
Check these titles:
Schattauer, Thomas H., ed. 1999. Inside Out: Worship in an Age of Mission. Minneapolis: Fortress.
Van Gelder, Craig, ed. 2007. The Missional Church in Context. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Webber, Robert E. 1992. Worship is a Verb: Eight Principles for Transforming Worship. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 378-379. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.