Organic Church: Neil Cole. Part 1

images1.jpgI am leary of writing about this book. But I want a discussion. I have seen others battle with these issues, and then they just disappear. We didn’t take time to get down and talk about it. And most of my current readers are still intimately linked to an established organized church body. I do not mean to offend. But this book and its issues are stirring in my soul like a tsunami, and I do not believe for a second that it’s anything other than the Holy Spirit doing the quaking. It’s too broad, and too worldwide. As well, I push myself to talk about where we’re going, rather than where we’re coming from.

This book is difficult to write about, but I must. It churns up so much in my heart. I have attended so many services where I sing, pray, listen, watch, say hello to a myriad of people I care about, but not enough to have them over or phone. Why is that? Because there are just too many people. I have known them for years, but our biggest contact is the infamous Sunday morning. Are we part of each other’s life? In a way. And maybe that’s my fault too. I haven’t yet learned how to be more community oriented. Or maybe it’s the fact we’re in the early child raising years. Or maybe many others feel exactly the same way.

Anyways, as so many more are, I am avidly searching of the definition of church – Christ’s definition. And the church that raised me (and to whom I am most grateful) I do not believe is it at its essence. It has too much else added on. It’s “Jesus +”. Neil Cole has, in my opinion, removed all the extra and found the essence, the DNA, of the church, at its simplest.

As for the plus part, he spends the first section showing that indeed, the church is sick. If it was healthy, it would be growing. It should be growing. The North American model (European), all the world over, is failing. These type of churches are stagnating. He talks with Christians in Japan, who for the most part follow a NA model of the church. He mentions how 3 months ago, the percentage of Christians in Japan was 1%. They laugh. Then he mentions that 1 year ago, 5 years ago, 100 years ago, the percentage was 1%. They are not laughing, but almost crying. What’s wrong? Later Cole mentions the Passion, directed by Mel Gibson. It made $600 million gross – a lot of people saw it. The assumption was that people would be saved by the thousands (assumptions by the churches anyways). Attendance grew nil (and attendance seems to be our litmus test). Why is that? Because the people are interested in Jesus, but not in the church.

We have a lot of repenting to do. I have a lot of repenting to do. It just never seems to happen on Sunday morning.


8 comments on “Organic Church: Neil Cole. Part 1

  1. If this is an encouragement and all, I just want to testify what it’s been like to be part of an organic church.

    I graduated from UCLA last year, where organic churches have just begun here on campus. It was taboo at first, especially since I belonged to Campus Crusade for Christ and the near-by church, Cornerstone, at which Francis Chan preaches (www.cornerstonesimi.com for some awesome messages). Now being a part of CCC and Cornerstone for the past year, I was fed, but the whole family/community feel was as it always was. Too many people. Too much to pray for. Busy. Overwhelming. But fun.

    I started attending this “house church” or “organic church”, if you will, and it was just different. Wonderfully different. I came in as a skeptic thinking “how can you have a church if there isn’t a pastor leading it?” “Where’s the structure” blah blah blah… but really… you just have to experience it. It goes beyond theology, philosophy, or any intellectual reasoning. Sitting there, experiencing the presence of God, there being a family intimacy where people openly praise, repent, and love and hold each other accountable with their walks and life is incredible. And everyone breaks bread together. Literally… it’s like a family… a body where you actually experience that Christ’s blood is thicker than water. It builds you up in your walk with God because it’s more intimate. You’re not being preached at and sitting in silence next to a few strangers that you’ll probably never see again.

    The coolest thing about it all… is that you get to see the fruits of the spirit in action. When you repent/confess a sin, immediately people pray for you and show you God’s grace. It’s the fruits of the spirit in action and in abundance. It’s back to authenticity. Back to sincerity… back to the basics.

    Btw… other cool things have been happening… we’ve been seeing miracles, like healing, happening at UCLA. Like, broken bones are fully healed kind of healings which have brought non-believers to Christ. It’s incredible.

  2. Hey Ashley. Thanks so much for the comment. It’s great to hear about your experience. To be honest, I know only one couple up here in Kelowna, Canada, who are part of a group like this. Me, I’m still waiting and praying for exactly what the next step is. For now, I feel like I am to just be alone, and wait, and learn to listen, and obey. And I don’t think I’ve learned that yet. At least, not enough.

    I love what you’re saying. Keep on keepin on. The Christian life is most definitely a process, not a destination.

    To hear about the authenticity of your group gladdens my heart.


  3. And they broke bread from house to house. (The Bible) Yes…breaking bread from house to house is the way it is to be. Those who truly follow Christ will find great freedom not rows and twenty minute sermons sitting near someone they will never really get to know.

    I was part of a house church for many years. It unfortunately was hijacked by some men who sought power. I am seeking again the closeness of a home church, the way it used to be.

  4. Keep seeking Scott. My catch phrase lately has been to scratch, seek, search, claw, scrape, climb, whatever it take s to seek out God, to know Him, to find out where He is now. Father will provide the community you need when you are completely satisfied with Him. Or He may provide it to help you become completely satisfied with Him. I applaud your search brother!

  5. The whole idea of the organic church is to get to the very grassroots of what the “church” was always suppost to be. Church is not a method or a model. It should work everywhere. What Neil trys to teach in his book is to be a part of somthing that is Life Transforming, Easily transferable, will work in all cultrures.
    We tend to overthink what church is. We overcomplicate it. I pastored for a number of years and I remember trying to create countless programs. Mostly because I had to much time on my hands but also becasue I thought that the people needed my help to reach God.
    DNA- What Neil speaks of is an INCREDIBLE rediscovery of what God has always intend his church to be. I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE.

    (webmaster the background and text are the same color on the reply board so it is not able to be viewed unless you highlight it)

  6. Hello all,

    I live in the Denver CO metro area and am of a Grace Brethren background. I have been passionate about the “organic/functioning Church for years now. I have been met with much resistance and persecution from my brothers and sister in Christ and it breaks my heart to see them spinning their wheels in the traditional system of “church”.

    That being said, I desperately need the fellowship of like minded Christians. I will be reading Neils books as soon as they arrive and hopefully be able to start an Organic Church movement out here in Colorado.

    Please contact me if you would like to talk further or if perhaps maybe you live in the Denver metro area… joshlanier@msn.com


  7. To those of you reading and wanting more…in the wake of these thoughts and practices (and with some shameless promotion) we have an Organic Church training called Organic Greenhouse Training with Neil Cole and others. You can check out more about it at http://www.cmaresources.org/greenhouse

  8. is there anything in the Bible that says you can put up a church without a pastor? just curious. 🙂 youtube.com/aplaceofhopetv interested in starting in ht e philippines, 7000islands, passionate abt God. Hope we can invite you to talk to our church. read the book but need more info, hehe, am a non-trad radical prodigal preachers kid. pls check my youtube.com/aplaceofhopetv

    surfcom_99 -yahoo messenger

    thanks neil, was inspired by your book. fread it after i finished myles munroe rediscovering the kingdom. great book to read too. fyi- was once super conservative had to wrestle with my dad and compromised a bit, hahaha, Bible Baptist turned progressive coz of the sons.

    another question is, r u different from the controversial emergent churches by the controersial bryan mclaren? hahaha , but i super enjoyed your book, kinda convinced my dad but well see. as the H.S leads. Hope to c u sir. got many questions. God bless

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