Scattered Servants - Book Review
“Scattered Servants is a book about bringing life to the city,” says Alan Scott...
By: Alan Scott
Publisher: David C Cook 2018; Kindle Version
“Scattered Servants is a book about bringing life to the city,” says Alan Scott (p. 13). A leader within the Vineyard Movement he founded Causeway Vineyard Church in Ireland where he served for 20 years. He now pastors Anaheim Vineyard Church in California. Within Scattered Servants, Scott shares various stories highlighting his breakthrough in ministry when his congregations “scattered” into the city to bring life to the city.
Scott says, “When I use the term scattered servants, I mean a movement of people empowered by the Holy Spirit and sent to bring life to cities.” (p. 23) Their work took his congregation out of their four walls and into the city where they encountered people where they were – and people’s lives changed. He tells the story of their first “unforgettable day” when they ventured into the center of the city offering prayer for healing (p. 21). Carrying banners that announce “HEALING” and engage with people in the streets with prayer and evangelism. Their first day out they witnessed healings – since then they have never looked back.
Scott calls this “healing on the streets model” (p. 250) His congregation “scattered” into the city to engage with the city to bring life to the city. He tells various stories of healing throughout the book. He talks of the blind being healed, addicts being set free, a woman who was a cutter who had her scars healed miraculously. Scott and his church reached outside their four walls to see the kingdom of God come to their community.
The whole of the book is Scott encouraging the Church to change their focus and mindset to go out into their cities – not to make converts – but to bring life to the city. Scott is encouraging the Church to live out the kingdom of God in our world.
Scattered Servants is a challenging book to the Church and her leaders. The book has many practical elements to it. Though, there are too many to list here. I list here a few that interested me.
In the chapter titled, “Changing the Culture One Life at a Time,” Scott announces to his church they are committing “seeing one hundred people say yes to God for the first time that year” (p. 57) He instructs his congregation to write down names they are going to “share their story” with and commit them to corporate prayer. This idea is a practical application any congregation can implement with significant effect. First, it gives a person a real unbeliever to focus their efforts. It is not just a lofty exhortation to share the gospel with just anyone. It is a tangible and measurable goal. Second, that person is not alone in their efforts – the entire congregation gets involved – in prayer and supplication for that unbeliever. Add to this Scott’s instructions on prayer: “Write down the names of two people who you know are far from God and commit to praying for them” (p. 66) Again this puts evangelism in the forefront of your focus in prayer and keeps these people on your mind day-to-day and gives you the strength to share the gospel with them.
Another element Scott exhorts the Church is in its focus. He says, “If we are to reach our cities, we must reposition our churches.” (p. 73) We should focus the Church outward in reaching the lost. Staying in our four walls will not bring the unbelievers to our church. “God is not sending lost people into the church; He sends the church out into the world.” Scott encourages the Church to examine “every aspect of our services and our lifestyles and reordered them to include outsiders.” (p. 74) Focus on renewing your community for Christ is good. However, I would push back on Scott here and emphasize a church is to be making disciples of those outsiders. We need to be welcoming but not in a “seeker-friendly” way that only brings in spectators and does not make disciples. However, I agree, churches need to change their focus from internal to external, from caring only for the flock and not working to bring in Jesus’ sheep who are not of his current fold.
There are many elements within Scattered Servants that are much needed in the Church today. I would add to Scott’s work a robust discipleship program within the Church training people to live the kingdom of God in the city to bring about the good of the city.