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Sent and Gathered

A Worship Manual for the Missional Church

series: Engaging Worship

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"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."--Sarita D. Gallagher, Evangelical Missions Quarterly 
Historic changes are occurring in this generation in the convergence of worship styles throughout the Christian church. With the onset of postmodernity and its requisite values of embodiment, mystery, and wonder, worship has become a major window for displaying these values in more inclusive and holistic ways. As modern worship walls break down, Christians across the theological spectrum are seeking to learn from their own tradition's roots and from the liturgical expressions of believers in other times and places.

Sent and Gathered examines worship in church settings around the globe, describing the growing liturgical convergence and providing practical principles for shaping liturgies that are missionally focused, creative, theologically congruent, and appropriate to local contexts. The book broadens current ecumenical worship conversations, reveals insights drawn from the church at worship in the world, and argues for a common understanding of a theology of worship. It will appeal to students of worship and practical theology, pastors, and worship leaders.

About the series: The Engaging Worship series from Fuller Theological Seminary's Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts brings scholars, students, artists, and church leaders into conversation around vital issues of theology and worship. Each volume addresses a particular worship issue from one or multiple academic disciplines and explores ways in which worship practice and leadership can be renewed.


"For some time now many of us have been talking about the need for the church to go missional, to define itself in terms of Christ's mission in the world. Now, Clay Schmit tells us how to let our mission form our worship and how our worship can empower our mission. This manual unites the two so long disjoined--worship and mission. A wonderful book that will be gratefully received by the church."--Will Willimon, bishop, North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church

"Clay Schmit is a beacon to churches navigating the seas of change. With a scholar's eye, a musician's ear, and a pastor's heart, he points to the church of the future, where worship is mission and deep unity is found in the midst of broad diversity. Thanks be to God!"--Kimberly Bracken Long, assistant professor of worship and coordinator of worship resources for congregations, Columbia Theological Seminary; editor, Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching and the Arts

"In Sent and Gathered, Clay Schmit provides an important work for those who desire thoughtful reflection on the theology and context of worship. His engaging style combines the mind of a scholar with the practical concerns of a minister. Schmit goes beyond traditions to help the reader understand the role of worship in the mission of God. This book is a unique resource for anyone interested in helping churches to become missional."--Doug McConnell, dean, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

"For too long many of us have been content with utilitarian models of worship that attract worshipers but ultimately undermine the profound redemptive transformation that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers. This book points in another direction, inviting us to imagine how our public worship services express and participate in the fullness of God's redemptive mission in the world. May many congregational leaders pause to ponder the insights that Clay Schmit develops here."--John D. Witvliet, director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

"Embracing an ecumenical worship form is a particularly thorny issue in contemporary liturgical debates. Nevertheless, Schmit offers clarity on the central questions: Does Christian worship have a common structure and to what extent would embracing such a structure further the visible unity of the church? The author's reach is wide; his understanding of liturgical principles, deep. This book will help ministers, laity, and students in every denomination to see beyond the tired rhetoric of the 'worship wars,' which the author believes to be on the wane. This is an important and much-needed book for anyone concerned about worship practices today."--Melinda A. Quivik, associate professor of liturgy and homiletics, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

The Author

  1. Clayton J. Schmit

    Clayton J. Schmit

    Clayton J. Schmit (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is the provost of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Lenoir-Rhyne University, in Columbia, South Carolina. He formerly served as academic director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts...

    Continue reading about Clayton J. Schmit


"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. . . . Aware of differences in worship style, Schmit succeeds in providing a helpful manual for Christians of all church traditions. . . . 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."--Sarita D. Gallagher, Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"This book is a well-thought-out discussion of worship and the mission of the church as it has developed historically and can lead us into the future. . . . [The] suggestions are intended for use in a wide range of liturgical communities, including traditional, free, and those in between."--Diane Dykgraaf, Reformed Worship

"[Schmit] winsomely draws the free church tradition into the riches of the liturgical tradition. Defining and defusing liturgical terms, Schmit shows his non-liturgical reader how much he or she already has in common with the liturgical tradition in matters of worship. He then goes on to engage these readers to think further about the liturgical tradition in view of their own. At the same time, he does not forget his readers from the liturgical side, calling them beyond rubricism to further engagement with the creative freedom of the non-liturgical tradition. . . . Schmit presents the reader with a cogently argued and concisely written worship manual which will prove insightful to thoughtful church musicians and pastors, to both worship planners and woshipers."--Marion Lars Hendrickson, CrossAccent: The Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians

"In the wake of worship wars which spotlight divergent perspectives, Sent and Gathered offers a hopeful alternative for worship renewal. . . . Part 1 is a theological conversation . . . which draws from Schmit's broad knowledge, insight, and experience as a Lutheran pastor, scholar, musician, and professor of worship and preaching. . . . Part 2 . . . is a fourfold manual on the liturgy. . . . The manual guides the inexperienced worship leader into the notion of ritual detail without assuming knowledge, interfaces theological understanding with practical considerations, and demonstrates that every aspect of worship merits careful thought, theological reflection, and intentionality. . . . Schmit indicates that this is not his final word on the topic, and the promise of more from this seasoned worship professor and author is worth anticipating."--Mary Sue Dehmlow Dreier, Lutheran Quarterly

"As the era of 'worship wars' draws to a close, Schmit presents a road map for churches wanting to recover their historical roots while still learning from diverse expressions of Christian worship. Further, he presents a persuasive argument that worship ought always to be shaped by and directed toward mission. . . . The book succeeds both as a call to reconnect liturgy and mission, and as a strategy for bringing together tradition and innovation in worship. It will be useful for seminarians in many Protestant traditions who are seeking to link the local and the universal in a way that takes them beyond the worship wars."--Scott Bader-Saye, Religious Studies Review