Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens (Publisher: Jossey-Bass)
Neil Cole’s Organic Church does what sermons are supposed to do – comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted. I fall in the first category. For the past few years I would leave church on Sundays (as a pastor and attender) thinking, “This can’t be what Jesus had in mind.” Big events, big budgets, big buildings, and passive parishioners. I felt capable of deconstructing the modern, western church, but I didn’t know what to construct in its place. Neil Cole explains the construction of a new alternative in the Organic Church.
So what is an Organic Church? In the very least, it’s a preference to a simpler kind of church. But Cole believes it’s more than just a preference. He argues that it’s an attempt at a purer expression of the church as Jesus meant it. The Organic Church wants to “lower the bar of how church is done and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple.” It takes seriously that Jesus established the strategy for church planting and multiplication in MT 10 and LK 10. In other words, WWJD as a church planter? Cole believes that the method Jesus used in those two chapters two-thousand years ago should be used today too. Instead of putting on a big event and expecting everyone to come, the Organic Church goes to where lost people are, (homes, coffee shops, etc) lives among them, and plants the church on their turf, even using their facilities. No mega-churches will come from this movement. The average sized church is 16 people. But 800 of these churches have been planted among Cole’s network in just five years. (You do the math).
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