"You were created for one purpose: live your life for God's glory. You need no further special call. You have been created uniquely to do this uniquely, so work out what you're passionate about, good at, and fit for, and go do it." — Andrew Scott
In Scatter, missions innovator Andrew Scott sounds a call for a new era of missions, one that uses the global marketplace for gospel growth and sees every Christian—engineer, baker, pastor, or other—as God's global image bearer.
Andrew has served in over 52 countries and is the U.S. president of one of the world's largest mission agencies. With eyes on a quickly-growing world and a slower-growing church, he sees that our traditional mission models simply won't do. Here he gives a guide to change it up.
Helping us see the grand narrative of Scripture and how each of us fits within it, he issues a compelling call: scatter.
When missions are mentioned, most people think that you leave everything you know behind and go someplace to share the gospel. On top of that, there is a certain way that you have to share the gospel. Though this can work, and has worked in the past, Andrew Scott believes that there is a better way, one that lets people still share the gospel, but according to how God created them to be. Scott says that more people could be reached if God's people would Scatter.
There is no question that Christians are sent to go share the gospel, we all acknowledge the commission Jesus gave His followers. The question is, are we supposed to leave all of our "secular" skills behind? Using the times Israel was scattered into foreign lands, and when early Christians escaped persecution as examples, Scott shows how God has sent His people out, especially when they tended to get comfortable. They went, and used the skills and talents they had to live among the people and be a witness for God. We have the choice to do the same thing willingly.
Scott makes a lot of good and valid points, the one that sticks with me most being that we are to use everything God has given us to serve and glorify Him. Let people see what we can do, and use that as an opening to share God's love with them.
Scatter is written in an encouraging way, not like you're being spoken down to, but walked with and pushed to do your best at whatever God has made you to do. I recommend it for any Christian, whether your missions field is in another country or your hometown.
The historical model of missions is not working. The amount of money the church gives for missions is pathetic. “Americans spend more on Halloween costumes – for our pets – than we give to reaching the unreached in our world.” (11) Scott provides some snapshots of the unreached today that are heartbreaking.
We need to get a new picture, Scott argues. That division between “full-time” Christian workers and the rest of us needs to be retired. Every believer gets to be a “full-time” follower of Christ, bringing glory to God through our professions and other aspects of our life. Just like the early Christians were scattered, we are to scatter to permeate our society and the world.
What an encouraging book! We are encouraged to live our passion, to be who God created us to be. We might be a business owner. We might be an artist, a plumber, or a teacher. Whatever we do, whether it is out in society or in our home, we are to live for God's kingdom, not our own accumulation of wealth. Our life is centered on the purposes of God, pointing others to God's glory.
Scott asks, “What if an entire generation redirected their purpose away from the elusive and godless American dream?” (72) He includes inspiring stories of people who have done so. He encourages us by reminding us we were made in God's image and of our position in Christ, accepted and loved. He uses biblical examples and tells some great parables to illustrate his principles.
I highly recommend this book to those in church leadership. Scott has included a note to pastors and mission leaders. They are encouraged to accept a new paradigm and empower a generation to share the gospel with their coworkers and neighbors. Those of us sitting in the pews need encouragement from our leaders to do that.
There are a couple of thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter so this book could be used for a group or personal study.
Have you ever been to a missionary talk and not felt called to go? Well, Andrew says it doesn’t matter what you feel, we are all called to ‘Go, make disciples,’ and Andrew tells us a way we can all do that. It’s such a vital message that several well-known Christian figures, such as Louie Giglio and David Platt have added their endorsement, desiring to see this message get out to the church today.
He starts with some ‘snapshots’ of the need in the world today – An immoral culture in Africa, a Muslim city with no known Christians, absolute poverty in India, etc. Then looks at how we can do something about it.
‘Scatter’ is not just another book on missionaries and missionary theory. It is a revolutionary new concept in spreading the Good News to a world in darkness, a concept grounded in the teaching and practice of Early Church, which are just as applicable today.
His argument is that we are all called to be missionaries in some capacity and for most of us that capacity is to work in our jobs being a witness to those around, and, if possible, doing it in one of those ‘closed’ countries. Many of us could move to one of these areas, work there and through our, perhaps silent, witness draw to the Saviour those who have never had a chance to hear of him. By our lives at work and in the home we show God’s glory and cause them to ask the reason why we are different. True, there is a place for the traditional missionary, but that is becoming more and more limited.
There are more Christians in the world today than ever before, but the number of completely unreached people is the highest ever too. How can we reach them? Throughout history God has had to scatter his people to make disciples, to make them go. Usually they were unwilling – it is too easy to settle down and get distracted by temporal things.
Though written for American Christians, the arguments apply throughout the western world, just the detailed figures vary for different countries: Out of our huge resources a fraction of 1% of our workers are among the unreached and a fraction of 1% of our wealth goes to the work there.
At the end of each chapter are some questions to think about and help you respond to the chapter. Then at the end of the book are some more ‘snapshots’. This time people who have responded and are doing something about the need. This is a book I wish I had read 30 years ago. For a few years I worked in a factory in Austria. If I had known and understood then what Andrew is saying now, I might still be serving the Lord there.
Andrew asks: Why be anything you want to be when you can be everything God made you to be? Would you be it where God is not worshipped?
Ray Cox, Missionary Secretary, Portadown Baptist Church, N Ireland