18 Comments

Organic Church: Neil Cole. Part II

images2.jpg“We believe that church should happen wherever life happens. You shouldn’t have to leave life to go to church.”

I remember when I was younger (and more idealistic for some silly reason), I wanted every time I got together with friends for us to have a prayer time, or a singing time – worship, basically a time where we touched the heart of the Father. Well, needless to say, it didn’t happen very often. Most people, even my strong Christian friends, weren’t interested in “getting spiritual” in normal every day contexts. But this is what Neil is saying, that church should happen whereever we are.

“Most Christians today are trying to figure out how to bring lost people to Jesus”. (p.24) Think about this phrase for a second. It sounds great, mainly because we have heard it so many times. Now consider “The key to starting churches spontaneously is to bring Jesus to lost people. We’re not interested in starting a regional church but rather making Jesus available to a whole region.” This makes more sense I believe. Cole talks about how so many of our churches go out of their way to attract people into the building, so that they can hear the message. I would dare to say that people just aren’t interested no matter what we do. They are seeking, but not enough to travel here and there. Taking Christ into their world, where life happens, is what Cole is advocating.

After many circumstances, and times where his heart broke for the young people of California in tears and prayers, he and some friends began to hang out at a local coffeehouse. “We played checkers, chess, or dominoes with the regulars who came to the coffeehouse, and we became part of the crowd. We would listen intently to people’s stories and offer compassionate prayer for those who were hurting. We did not preach at people, but they would often ask us about our spiritual lives….Before long my living room was filled with new life. Rather than move to a larger space, we sent small teams of two or three to other coffeehouses to start other churches.” (p.26)

I don’t want to get too long here, but I really want to quote Cole from page 26-27:

“These churches we were start were small (avg 16) and simple. …we valued a simple life of following our Lord and avoiding many of the complexities of the conventional church. Complex things break down and do not get passed on (to the next church), but simple things are strong and easily reproduced. Ordinary Christians were able to do the extraordinary work of starting and leading churches because the work was simple, the results powerful.

..’We want to lower the bar of how church is done and rasie the bar of what it means to be a disciple.’ If church is simple enough that everyone can do it and is made up of people who take up their cross and follow Jesus at any cost, the result will be churches that empower the common Christian to do the uncommon works of God. Churches will become healthy, fertile, and reproductive.

The conventional church has become so complicated and difficult to pull off that only a rare person who is a professional can do it every week. Many people feel that to lower the bar of how church is done is close to blasphemous because the Church is Jesus’ expression of the Kingdom on earth. Because church is not a once-a-week service but the people of God’s family, what they have actually done is the opposite of their intention. When church is so complicated, its function is taken out of the hands of the common Christian and placed in the hands of a few talented professionals. This results in a passive church whose members come and act more like spectators than empowered agents of God’s kingdom.”

comment – I find we often talk about being empowered agents, but I am beginning to believe that we can talk all we want, but the very structure of NA church hinders and limits the Christian, turning them unintentionally into that “passive church”

Last quote – “The organic or simple church, more than any other, is best prepared to saturate a region because it is informal, relational, and mobile. Because it is nore financially encumbered with overhead costs and is easily planted in a variety of settings, it also reproduces faster and spreads further. Organic church can be a decentralized approach to a region, nation, or people group and is not heavily dependent upon trained clergy.”

I like it. I am not living this yet, but it sure stirs up my spirit. Lord, may you lead us and guide us into the expression of Your kingdom that is healthy and growing. Do what You need to do in us to help bring Your life to the world around.

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18 comments on “Organic Church: Neil Cole. Part II

  1. “The Organic Church,” very pithy. Being someone from the mainline big Charismatic Church this sounds enticing, but is it another one of those movements that tends to cull the flock? I too believe that the big church concept has its difficulties: a mortar mentality, a big budget, a centralized service that showcases the professional. It is easy to criticize. It is hard to participate and change the machine. Alas, I am part of the machine. I am one of the machine pushers and pullers. So, what of this concept called Organic Church, is this the answer?
    I think it is important that we look at the Biblical aspects of what the “big Church” offers, in spite of all it’s faults, that perhaps our little coffee house meetings may be lacking.
    1. Accountability: I have often asked those who have little or no connection to a God Ordained local church (a concept that also needs to be addressed – check out the seven churches of Revelations 2-3 – it seems that they can blow it in such a way as to not be a God ordained church. But I digress.) if they can have an authentic Hebrews 13:17 experience: “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” My question to the coffee house church goer is, who is the person that you are called to obey and who is the person that will be standing before Jesus one day giving account for your soul?
    2. The Family: It is easy for the postmodern young adult to identify with the coffee house church. (I do understand that people meet in other places such as homes) But what about the family? What about the children? Darren spoke of the example he saw what a godly family is all about at the big church. I would suggest that things start to get a bit more complicated when you try to minister to the children or the youth. In fact, just an observation, most coffee church folks who have teen age kids rely on the big churches to minister to their young people. I have often wondered if they participate in helping pay for the youth pastor’s salary. I think this approach does not meet the family where it is at and if we don’t truly support this God ordained institution then we are destined to disappear quickly.
    3. This brings me to my third point – kind of off the track of the biblical discussion, but isn’t the nature of the blog to ramble a bit. The parasitical nature of the small coffee house groups. If there was no big church I sincerely doubt there would be many disgruntled and disillusioned coffee house churchers to go around. If you read the statement of the article I am responding too, you will note that it defines itself by contrasting what it does not like about the big church. Hmmm – anything that defines itself by what it is not will create an exclusivist and rebel approach to its own identity.
    4. New Testament Structure: this really goes back to accountability – but most everything does when we are trying to discover the roots of a counter movement such as the one being defined. (as stated above so far everything I have read about this movement seems to spend most of its time defining itself as what it is not rather than what it is – thus a counter movement) The New Testament outlined Apostolic and Prophetic accountability. Many of the Epistles were written to correct elements in the Church that were being mislead by those outside of the accountability of the Apostolic leadership. Paul instructed his leaders to appoint and ordain elders. We are cautioned to “not be many teachers.” (James 3:1) Because there is a greater accountability. The article suggested that we do easy, simple church so that anyone could lead it. Hmmm………
    5. An organized missional call. As we come together and bring our recourses to bear on a concentrated effort the Church can have an amazing impact on various regions of the world. I have had the privilege of being in such a church that is having a concerted and massive affect in the areas of education and missions. Hard to do that when people really don’t give much and don’t gather for such a purpose. Or perhaps I am mistaken, does the Organic Coffee House Church have a missional purpose beyond itself?

    Some basic ramblings: I would love to hear a reasoned response to my questions.

    • A few comments, large church does not mean accountablility, all to often our leaders have people in “leadership” positions that cannot ask the tough questions. Not to be many in teachers, the ratio of ministers to population has decreased. There is clarity in ordaining leadership in the Book, use it, ask the tough questions, look for the fruit not just at the diploma. I have personally pounded nails in Mexico, held and fed orphans all through an “organic” group of friends, no one to yell at if the trip did not go well or if the truck broke down, just people you trust to get through. I would rather fellowship with someone who has courage to talk about their Jesus in a coffee shop than someone who looks for the next big church through a website. Just some ramblings.

  2. There are many good points made by you above Greg. Let me respond to a few.

    Firstly, you mention a couple of times that the house church movement defines itself mainly by what it is not. I disagree. I have met those who spend all their time griping about the organized (big) church. I have learned to either tell them not to, or simply walk away. I am not that interested in discussing where we are coming from, but rather where we are going. And I have yet to get to the meat of this in Cole’s book. The book is just too full of good points to dwell on that yet, so I have limited myself to discussing a section at a time. But Cole has an excellent definition of the organic church, defining it better than anyone I have read yet.

    As well, I may find myself belittling something that God is still moving in (which I think He is). That wouldn’t be good. My point is that the signs are all there that something is wrong, and I just do not see the machinations of the big wheels willing or able to do anything about it. However, I don’t think the whole body of Christ should be leaving mortar churches to meet in coffee bars and houses. That would be pretty arrogant.

    Second, the tone that you use Greg in your response is not warranted – the feeling is one that all house church movements or thoughts are generated by disgruntled, bitter, non-thinking, irrational people, and that the movement is out to lunch. In some cases this is true. But it is not true in the book we’re discussing, and it is not true in the people I have met or had this discussion with. People all over the world are taking their faith seriously enough to do something about it.

    You say that the coffee houses are parasitical in nature. This may be true, but only from your limited perspective. The church I am a part of right now spends less money on salary and building, and more (percentage wise) on the outreach missional purpose of the body. It is not leeching off of another body, but aims to give in many different ways. One Sunday, a few guys got together and removed a moldy section of a mobile home that was causing sickness in some of the other tenants. And it becomes clearer and clearer that you haven’t read this book yet, else you wouldn’t wonder if the movement has “a missional purpose beyond itself.” This will become clearer when I write my next blog.

    My thoughts on family are still forming in this context, but I think I will lean upon Cole’s theme for this one. His theme is that we grow faith where life happens, and that life just does not happen in a normal way in a big church. Though I would say that the body I grew up in is different in many ways, I tend to agree with Cole. Why do we have to create some sort of special subculture in order create community? Why can we not follow Christ and achieve missional purpose without asking people to come to us? Cole’s point is that we take Christ to the world, coming into their homes, their streets, their comfort zones, being a light in the midst of their darkness. I have been a part of the organized church for so long that I think I have forgotten how the world thinks and feels, and if that’s the case then I am of no use to them in the context of being light and salt. We have no common ground on which to have relationship. Jesus was very often among the unbelieving world – He was comfortable there. I dare say that most Christians are not. So, it is in the context of normal life and living that I wish to raise my family. If they see Jesus move in the lives of others, saved and unsaved, then they will choose Jesus as they grow.

    You mention the churches of Revelations 2-3. I somehow doubt that the churches of Smryna, Laodicea, Phillippii, etc, met in big buildings. They met in houses! They had to. They met in the open market, or in the fields around. The letters are to the city, and were copied and spread around from group to group.

    The one area that I have less comment on in is in the area of accountability. Cole does mention this in his book, for a good many pages too. His main point is that the top down hiearchical structure just does not make sense in the light of what he sees in scripture and life. I will expound more upon this in a later blog. I do believe in accountability. But I think that we lean far too heavily upon a few men and women, instead of more upon each other and especially upon the Holy Spirit. Why is it that pastors last usually no more than 1-3 years in one church, and that many get burned out and leave their positions? There’s something ludicrous in that. You and your fellow pastors are most definitely the exception, and for that there is much to be commended. But there are at least 300 people in that local body. Can you honestly say that each one is accountable to one of you, and that you “hold them before the Lord?” It is too much to ask. It’s impossible.

    I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to repond. The dialogue is crucial in getting at the heart of the issues. There is a feeling that we may never convince each other of our side of seeing things, but if we are listening, I know the Holy Spirit will pick out the bits of light and truth and sink them into our hearts. That’s what I am looking for. Thanks.

  3. Aw, man! Can’t we move some of your comments to BookWyrms? I know Nicole would want to see them too… Ah well.
    http://BookWyrms.wordpress.com/

  4. I commented on BookWyrms too. :O)

  5. Are you sure that we aren’t supposed to bring people to Jesus? That was how He worked when He was walking on earth. He went around, and then people came to Him, people sought Him out, people left everything they had to find and to follow. The only times I can think of when somebody brought Jesus to another person, was when that other person was basically dead. I don’t mean spiritually, either. I mean literally. Literally in the literal, as opposed to the figurative sense.

  6. I’m not sure how to respond. You make a good point. I need to think about it more. I think the main point is that Jesus, and the apostles, did what they did out where people lived and worked and shopped and played. Yes, there were all the meetings out in the open on the hillsides, but they were out in the open out on the hillsides, not in some building they erected and then invited people too. Paul gave his speech in Acts 17 (?) at the place where the Greeks had erected their statue to the unknown god, or out in the public forum where the greeks gathered to discuss philosophy. Zacheus’ home. the wedding in Cana. The beach. The hillside where the pigs went over. The street where the cloak was touched, and the street where he drew in the sand. Martha’s house. Etc. Living life, out and about.

    The one I have to still think through, which I have argued with others before about (in my own family), and that a good friend brought up the other day, was the verse about where Jesus made a habit of attending the synagogue every Saturday. My one thought is that still was OT, and Jesus was following the dictates of His faith and culture. Every story about the synagogue, except when he was 12, seems to show him disputing the religiosity of it though…..I still need to think about that one further.

  7. Hey y’all… I am a stranger to this forum, but, reading Greg’s response, I couldn’t hold back.

    1. Accountability. Doc, if you’re going to quote scriptures, quote them correctly. In any Strong’s concordance, you’ll notice that “account” is not in any original Greek text, majority or critical. Also that “logos” was, conveniently, omitted. The proper translation, based on the Greek of Heb 13:17 would be closer to “Trust your leaders, and submit yourselves, for they watch over your souls, as them that must deliver the Word, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” Replacing Word with account would be unbiblical as it would contradict Matt 23:8, Matt 12:36, Rom 14:12, Luke 16:2, to name a few. No one else can take the blame for what we do ourselves.

    2. Family. Greg says “if we don’t truly support this God ordained institution then we are destined to disappear quickly.” Who said God ordained the institution? When Jesus said (Matt 16:18) that “upon this rock I will build my church” did Jesus then proceed to slab mortar and brick, rock upon rock? Or was he speaking of a spiritual building of people? Think about it. Without PEOPLE, there is no “church”. In the Greek, everywhere you see “church” in English, it actually says “ecclesia” which, being translated, means “called out ones.” Greg, we do need to support God-ordained things, but what is truly God ordained should be the 1st question to ask of God in prayer.

    3. This is true. I agree. The end result of everything is either creation or destruction. I am not so much “against” false gates of hell, as I am just “for” Jesus’s Church (Matt 16:18).

    4. I don’t know who is saying what, but Jesus alone is to be the leader of His church. How can he be the Head of the body, when we identify a “head pastor”… “head deacon”…”presiding prelate”… Jesus should be identified as the senior pastor of a church… unless, of course, they aren’t truly led by the Spirit, then they are being honest as to who is leading them. (1 Cor 1:12)

    5. Missional purpose. How can they preach except they be sent? Can we honestly say apostles (translates to missionaries) today are sent by the Spirit? (ref Acts 10:19,20; Acts 13:2; etc etc etc etc) Perhaps this is why there are so many “flavors” of Christianity – – because the Spirit… has been excommunicated from the Church!

    Darren, the reason so many pastors get burned out or leave is because they weren’t sent. We need to stop trying to “work” for God and let God just function thru us. “Work” wears a person out. Trying to build, plant, weed, fertilize. But when God just uses you, you don’t need to constantly “strategerize” or calculate or toil. Toiling was Adam’s punishment, not the Church’s!

    schtoltzie, instead of thinking, you need to stop thinking, and start praying. To many people are trying to “figure out” the truth. No. That leaves God out of the equation. Just pray and be earnest. God won’t keep the truth from those who really want it (James 1:5)

    Love, Peace, Truth-
    Nate

  8. The problem with such blogs is they can be purely conceptional and not personal. So let me refine some of my previous points. I think Nate had some interesting responses. Darren I really couldn’t tell where you were going. You mention my tone – I think you do this because you know me so well and, perhaps presume my position on matters because of this. I meant no tone in my writing that would belittle people – perhaps I might belittle some of their ideas.

    On point number 1. Nate comments on the word “obey” and replaces it with the word “trust.” Ok. Trust and submit are good words. I can live with it. So here is my question to whom do you trust and submit to? My point isn’t so much focusing on this idea from Heb 13:17 but rather who is the leader that will have to give an account to God for how they watch over your soul? Many coffee house meetings are great but they don’t constitute a church that has real God ordained leadership. Nate is right about no one else can take the blame for our own actions but God ordained leaders should be watching over the souls of the Church. This is hard to experience in Starbucks.

    2. Nate assumed that when I used the word “institution” I was saying “building.” Nate the word institution does not mean building. I was think in terms of the first definition of the word in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/institution not the second. If I wanted to refer to a building then I would. I have risen above the foolish masses to understand that the word Church (gr. Ekklessia) actually doesn’t have anything to do with a building unless we are speaking metaphorically. Back to my original point. Let me be plain: What do you do with your children (Darren has 3) when you are having coffee church? Is your community ministering carefully to your whole family? Does your wife attend the coffee church as well? My point was – when the kids get older they may want and need what you had Darren. Will you rely on the bigger churches to help your kids as many house church people do?

    3. I think Nate is agreeing with me on this point. Maybe not, let me through it out there again: “If you read the statement of the article I am responding too, you will note that it defines itself by contrasting what it does not like about the big church. Hmmm – anything that defines itself by what it is not will create an exclusivist and rebel approach to its own identity.”

    4. Nate’s comments sound very spiritual here. Of course Jesus is the senior, head, lead Pastor, leader. Ok – we should now disregard all those silly instructions Paul gave us about bishops, elders, overseers, deacons, apostles (sorry Nate, I meant missionaries), pastors, prophets, evangelists, teachers. What in the world was Paul thinking!!! That guy probably didn’t know what he was talking about!

    5. Yes, Darren, Nate is right, just make sure there is enough cream and sugar on the table so that we can flow and be in our coffee church. Don’t try and work, don’t think about strategy’s just be. Yes be the missional church. Flow in the missional purpose. Unless of course you want to have some enduring impact upon your family, neighborhood, city, region and world. Don’t toil – that is just to much like Paul and we saw in the last point that he really blew it in regards to all the leadership and structure that he wanted back in the first century.

    Thanks Nate and Darren for your inspiration!

    Love and peace in Him,

    Greg

  9. Hm. Nicole actually picked up this book, and reports that it’s not as flakey as many of us might imagine.
    It’s not about throwing away the leadership roles of teacher, pastor, prophet, evangelist, apostle, but about a greater percentage of the Body actually operating in those roles. As the larger churches are currently organizes (speaking in generalizations), mature Christians of 20 – 30 years growth in the Lord can just sit back and not ever need to rise up into leadership at all. They can let someone else be the pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophet. We can take comfort in “serving” in the church but never take responsibility for anybody else’s soul OURSELVES. Yes, there should be somebody to be looking out for me, but also I should be taking some responsibility myself for others. And that level of leadership is so easy to avoid in a big church.
    _ I also would say that we’ve all seen in a large church, that often times the leaders have so many “sheep per shepherd” ratio that while they may be held responsible in Heaven, they certainly don’t have much impact right now. What shepherd is watching over my family at KCC? Perhaps if I had babies, I would get more attention – gosh.
    _ My understanding of the Organic churches is, that by keeping things at the size, scope, location, and format which is appropriate to the particular group the Lord brings together, the right kind of ministry relationships do form. And each member of that group is required to rise up to the callings God has put on them. Perhaps it’s a larger group; perhaps a smaller one. Perhaps they meet in a small venue, perhaps in a bigger place. I don’t think there are “rules” for organic churches which prohibit building ownership, incorporation, or structure. But at the same time, do we really have to do things just because everybody else is?
    _ Right now I’m feeling a bit left out in the KCC vision because I don’t have kids and I’m not really part of what seems to be the major financial and growth push of this body. It’s a great vision and I believe it will have major impact. But clearly God hasn’t made me part of it. So should I be joined to a fellowship which is not so child-centered and marriage-centered?

  10. Careful there – don’t assume yet that God hasn’t made you a part of it. Ask first what place you can have in that vision. If the answer is no place, then the question is appropriate.

    It’s the smaller bodies that do make more sense to me, because we are “forced” into positions of responsibility, and sitting back and being “enertained” is not as much of an option.

    Scrape, scratch, claw, climb.

  11. I have enjoyed reading all of your thoughts on this topic. I am currently reading the book and so far I find both Biblical and unbiblical/extrabiblical teaching.
    My first comment:
    The book leaflet says at the bottom, “Organic church offers a hands-on guide for demystifying this NEW MODEL of church and shows the practical aspects of implementing it…O.C. shows how we can return to those ancient roots by letting the church be alive, organic, GROWING, spreading in the most likely and unlikely places.”
    From what I have read so far, this book presents a NEW church model that will bring GROWTH and is better then the old/Western model. Why divide over which model is best??? Can’t God, and isn’t God using both models? Are we in agreement that,”…God causes the growth.” Why are we hung up on which “model” grows the church the best??? Jesus said,”…I will build my church…” Why are we hung up on discussing how WE will best grow His church???
    I agree that the “seeker” church movement has MUCH to be desired and the criticism of it are warranted…but saying my model of doing church is right and yours is wrong/sinful is a bit prideful.
    Paul wrote to churches that had problems but did he ever directly address this issue…the best way to grow a church??? Let me know what you think.
    last commment:
    The statement on page 24, “Most Christians today are trying to figure out how to bring lost people to Jesus. THE KEY to starting churches that reproduce spontaneously is to bring Jesus to lost people.” Ask the question – Either both of these statements are right, both are wrong, or one is right and one is wrong. Organic Church is definitely saying that one is right (bring Jesus to people in a simple way) and that the other is wrong, or at least not as good (bring people to Jesus doesn’t “work”). This is a semantical debate that should not divide Christians. Making an issue of this, as this book does, can be VERY divisive…which is really what satan desires of the church-disunity.
    OK..last comment for sure…
    Read John 6:37-39 and ask yourself…if Jesus had that much certainty about accomplishing God’s will…WHY CAN”T WE???
    thanks for read!!!

  12. Hi Steve! I really appreciate the responses you have.

    I don’t believe I’m coming at it from the angle of “this one is right” and “this one is wrong”. We can’t put God in a box, and say that one of doing church is the right way, so I agree with you on that. And there are going to be weaknesses in any structure we eventually come up with. I think what we really lack is the ability to be flexible, and ask the Holy Spirit, “How do YOU want church to look here, to look now, to look like in this place and time with these people? In studying church history, every move of God eventually fizzles out because man gets stuck into one way of doing things. I just don’t find big structured churches today able to change when change is needed, when it is being demanded. There doesn’t seem to be the ability to simply wait and see what God wants to do. We come up with our own plans instead.

    Growing a church? Who cares! If we seek His face, repent, and turn form our wicked ways (and that means us in the church), then the growing a church part will take care of itself. God grows us, and grows churches. The whole conversation makes me want to puke actually. Anyone who writes about growing churches that doesn’t include us on our face weeping for God to move just doesn’t get it. They’re living in delusion.

    Neither I nor Cole is making this into a black/white issue. I believe there is a time to bring people to Jesus, and a time to bring Jesus to people. I think both happen in the gospels and in Acts. But we in NA have focussed way too much on bringing people to Jesus, trying to make the church more attractive, again, in order to grow our churches. There is not nearly enough of us meeting people where they are at. I think Christians in general have been scared of the world, scared that it would render us helpless, that it would suck us in, that our faith might die if we spend too much time in their space. Cole is saying that Christ is way bigger than this, and so should our faith be.

    I like the reference that you make, and I think it reinforces a huge point. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. We need to develop that kind of relationship with our Father as well, so that we don’t make Cole’s Organic church our model either, but we make Father’s will our model, we find out what He wants to do in our life, in our town, amongst these people. It won’t be the same as Cole’s. It might be similar, I don’t know. Even in nature, God has provided so much variety and adaptability. When we take out cues from Him instead of what so and so says the cues should be because it worked so well for them, than we will begin find out what church can really be like. My heart cries out as I write this – Oh Father, show us, show us, what you want to do here. Rend our hearts, rend our ways, so that only your ways are left. That’s my cry Steve.

    In every historical move of God, Christians had to leave the dry, dead, organized systematic church of the day (eg. the Pharisees and Jesus, the Catholics and Luther, the Liturgical churches and the Pentecostals in the 1900’s, etc) Very seldom was a real move able to happen from within, because the structure was too set in place, and the leadership too unwilling or unable to change. So divisive? Maybe. I pray not. But I’m not scared of division. I think for the most part, today’s church is missing it, and God wants me to, right now, learn to hear Him a whole lot better than I have.

    To God’s glory, and not our own. Talk to you soon Steve.

    Darren

  13. Hi

    Very interesting information! Thanks!

    Bye

  14. 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

    edgetv@gmail.com
    surfcom_99 -yahoo messenger
    +639194738410

    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

  15. Hi JJ – thanks for the post.

    Firstly, and I do apologise, but I am not the infamous author of the infamous book. I am merely Darren, and I read Cole’s book and have blogged about it. We are fellow saints, but I am sure Cole is a much better write than I. Hey, he’s published.

    A church without a pastor. Technically, no. A church needs one or more people to function as a pastor, a shepherd (not the Chief Shepherd), a lover and caregiver of the hearts of the people. A church needs a teacher, or teachers, to bring illumination to the Word (not to be separated from the people’s need to go to the Holy Spirit themselves, as the Bereans did in Acts.) Similarily, a church needs an apostle(s), a prophet(s), an evangelist(s). This needs to be expounded on far more than in this space, but Cole talks about it in his book.

    I don’t think a group NEEDS one person to lead. I think it is possible to have a group lead. When I look at Acts, and Paul goes to a town, and then leaves, it never says that he appoints one person to lead the new group of believers. It says that he appoints ELDERS to lead them.

    Bryan MacLaren – I actually don’t know enough about MacLaren to comment. But just because something is controversial doesn’t mean it’s wrong, or evil, or should be avoided. Personally, I haven’t attended church for a few years now, so I’m kind of out of the loop. What this has done for me is to make God’s voice much clearer, as I find there are no other voices distracting me from what God is speakin gto my heart. But it is only a season – I know that we need to be connected to a body. Buton the other hand, I can’t think of one Bible character of the top of my head that didn’t have a season of extreme aloneness – Job, Joseph, Moses, Noah (everyone else was dead), Jesus, Paul, John….

  16. Nice blogsite!
    I think you would like mine too.
    Been relational housechurching and planting for 30 years now.
    My blog is about Jesus, church and life in general.
    http://notesfromthebridge.wordpress.com

    Christopher “Captain” Kirk

  17. Thanks Christopher – 30 years – wowzers. Keep plugging away, and always keep and treasure your time with Him more than your labour.

    I read a few of your posts. I am so sorry to hear of your recent hardships. However, I know fully that as you wait in quietness and confidence, you’ll find peace and strength. The Spirit is purifying the bride, and making us ready for our King’s returning. I can’t imagine the pain you feel, but Jesus does, and there is a reason for everything.

    Ah, anything I write just seems like platitudes. Take it for what it is worth. Time is too short. Blessings brother.

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